I went on my first mid life date last night. I didn’t know I was on one until we got to our destination. My husband is really stepping out of his comfort zone and is surprising me a little every day.
Back story: My husband and I stopped dating about 20 years ago, shortly after my second child was born. It’s not that we didn’t want to be seen in public together. We were just too darn tired to get ourselves dressed up and venture out. There were sleepless nights filled with diaper changes and feeding. There were endless days where our main goal was to secure the house to prevent the bumps and bruises of one child who ran through the house like a tornado and to encourage a burp out of the other one, so, for the love of God, he would just stop crying. After the third child was born, we were completely spent. So was our bank account.
When our children were in bed, my husband and I would sit blurry eyed, staring at the television.
“Do you feel like these kids are sucking the living life out of us?”
There wasn’t even energy for a response.
We lived carefully within our means. We decided that I would stay home, take care of the children and try to get my business off the ground. I did odd jobs to supplement, a part time stint at a local pharmacy, I babysat, and I did sewing repairs. My husband worked full time in the day and part time at night.
We lived frugally, pay cheque to pay cheque.
Ahhh! The Canadian dream!
Every weekend, while our friends would be planning a weekend trip or night out, my husband would say, “I think we should just stay in this weekend for a change.”
Translation: We were flat broke. The kind of broke where you can’t remember the last time you filled your car with gas farther than half a tank; The kind of broke where you wait for the grocery ads to announce the big sale on macaroni and cheese.
I played along. “Yeah sounds good! Let’s have a movie night. You can rent an old release for 99 cents. “
Then my husband played along. “Here!”; As he handed me the loose change jar. “We may as well use up these pennies.”
This is how we rolled; for 20 years.
My husband would say, from time to time, “One day, I’m going to buy you some diamond earrings or a fur coat.”
I’d say, “Thanks for wanting to do that, but I’m fine with what I have. I wouldn’t wear the fur. I can barely stomach eating meat. I’d never wear a dead carcass on my back. As for the earrings, my piercings are probably closed by now. I’ve got everything I need.
The other night my daughter called from the polar bear region.
“Ma, do you think you can run out and get me a bra and ship it. My good white one broke. “
There are no stores where she lives; only a small co op that has some expensive food items. You have to wait for the cargo plane to fly in early in the morning if you want a chance at purchasing some produce.
I agreed to her request and to also pick up some bubble bath. She’s rationing it right now.
My husband agreed to head to the mall with me, on a weeknight no less. Amazing.
We had been talking about getting out more, getting back to the way we were before we had kids. Being young and free again.
I’ve been telling my husband, “This is our chance. Let’s get out there and enjoy our freedom. “
“How much will it cost?” He’s always worried.
We pulled into the parking lot and as usual I suggested we park right by the entrance closest to the store we were going to. In an out, make it quick.
My husband turned towards the opposite end of the lot.
“Where are you going?” I asked.
“I’m gonna park at Sears. We’ll walk through there and take the long way to the store. It’ll be like a date.”
I almost fell out of the car.
“Are you serious? We’re on a date.”
My husband leaned back proud and smiled coyly at me. He was pleased with himself to have pulled this smooth move off.
“You can even hold my hand if you like.”
I was smitten.
We strolled through the mall.
We got lost. We marveled at the new stores that had opened up. We were like two country bumpkins on their first trip to the city.
We made our purchases and even stopped at a chocolate store to buy a few small bars. On the way back through the mall we picked up some flavored popcorn to take home.
My husband thought it was frivolous.
I said, “Let’s live. It’s our time now. You deserve it.”
“I used to love the stuff”, he said.
He struggled with it.
I peer pressured him into it. “C’mon, do it. You know you want to.”
He finally caved and we bought a medium bag of double trouble something or other caramel.
We strolled back through the mall and back through Sears. We stopped and picked up some pajamas for my son.
My husband held open the doors for me and carried the bags. It was so simple but very romantic.
As he opened the car door for me, he said, “That was fun”.
“I know! Wasn’t it?” I said.
He swaggered to his side of the car and stepped inside. As he leaned over to put on his seat-belt, he gave me a teasing glance. “Next time, maybe I’ll take you to the food court.”
You’ve got to love this guy.
Like two young teens we giggled all the way home.
It feels good to feel young again.
After story: The caramel corn gave him a stomach ache.