To be fair, you really should do this more often.
It’s your semi-annual date night with people similarly afflicted with children in the ‘rugrat’ stage of development. You will only go out with couples in the same stage as you as there’s just a hair more acceptance of your general dishevelment and lack of understanding of anything that has happened in the past 3 years that took place outside of your own home.
You start the night having properly timed everything, painstakingly, to be as together as you can be at the moment you are to arrive. And it’s wonderful. You are 0nce again putting your best foot forward and demonstrating at least a modicum of pride in your appearance. It’s such a foreign feeling that it gets you a little heady. Your hosts are in the same boat and the laughs and understanding of a person who gets what you’re going through is intoxicating. You aren’t crazy. Or you are, but it turns out you are supposed to be.
Before long you are on your second glass of wine and you are now well on your way to drinking like a college freshman again, ready to get sloppy and emotional and ready to call a taxi later to get you home. You’re getting your drink on tonight. Having put more effort into this night than has been put into anything you’ve done for yourself in forever you determine that you just have to get going to that new ‘high end’ pizza joint downtown. There’s no way you’re getting this dressed up and not getting out, no matter how much fun you are having here.
Once there you see the line. Are you kidding me? You have a vague memory of a time when a line was a small challenge, a mere hiccup. A good one. One that spoke to something desirable at the end of it. This is purely a memory. There is not even a tiny residue of that feeling left, but none of you want to let the others down by being a drag on what’s so clearly going to be an…
‘To be honest, I don’t even think there pizza’s that good. I had it with some guys from work. It’s not that much better than the place around the corner. No wait there.’ you all dance around the idea for a minute before the ‘thank god someone said something’ moment happens and you all walk gloriously down the street.
You ask for the bar menu after being seated and noticing a disturbingly high number of families with kids there. It’s alright. They ain’t yours. You do miss them though and make a note that someday, when bathrooms aren’t as urgent a need as they can be with little ones that seem not to understand the feeling of something coming, only recognizing it’s arrival, it might be a nice place to come for lunch with the kids.
No. Bar. You can bring your own though. The men head out and find a store and return wine in hand. Rather, wine in box in hand.
You’re such a jackass.
Don’t be silly. It’s not the giant fridge box. We can put it on the floor. There’s three bottles in here!
Turns out it’s okay. You even see some presently-parenting-parents looking longingly. You offer, they demure. These are your people and lines are for suckers.
By the time you’ve sufficiently made it impossible to shove any more carbs in you realize you should be getting home. The kids are going to be up early and you need to get some Gatorade and aspirin down before getting to bed. These little ones make no distinction between weekday and weekend and six in the morning is extra early for a morning after.
So you all agree that you are tempting fate and should get home. You hug and shake and do the manly combo thing and tell each other you’ll definitely do this again next week. Well, not next week, but certainly in the next month. If not certainly sometime around the holidays. Or maybe just after, once all the travel is done. It’s the kind of on the fly planning you do with friends when you are drunk. You are totally drunk, but you’re a grown up now and that just means you have to hold it together.
Your cab comes and you give them your address and you laugh and flirt in the back and it’s awesome. You’re totally gonna have sex when you get home. But first you have to be dropped on the corner so you can chew some gum and eat some old Altoids so as not to smell like vagrants for the babysitter. You see them through the window, all adorable and in their jammies so you decide to hang out for a little. But they don’t go down. Looks like they’re waiting for you. You promise that once they are down you can meet up in the bedroom and ‘finish’ your date. You mean it this time. Seriously.
Your arrival is greeted with such excitement that you decide at least one half of a Curious George is probably a good idea. One or two. Before long you are bringing slightly calmed kids to their rooms and laying with them for a bit looking at the ceiling of green stars shone from the timed light on the dresser. You eventually notice that your eyes are closed and you haven’t heard anything in minutes. You open and see the stars have timed out and he didn’t even notice. His back is to you so you wait and listen. Breaths aren’t deep enough yet to risk it. So you close your eyes and wait.
Finally you drift to sleep. It’s okay. Same thing happened in the other room. It’s not how you’d have scripted the date ending, but you’ll take it. Every time.
We really should do this more often.