Tonight, over a dinner of mini-burgers, tiny carrots and cucumber slices, my husband looked up at me and said, “We need a date.”
We didn’t get to talk too much about what we should do or where we should go because my daughter had pulled together a little ritual to memorialize her dead fish (not a recent death, but one that seems weighty none the less.)
Per Sadie’s wishes, we drank milk, apple juice and water out of doll-sized goblets and then we talked about what we liked best about the deceased.
“Pebbles was very beautiful,” my son said.
“Pebbles was very peaceful,” my husband said.
“I liked that she was quiet,” I offered.
“She was very blue,” Sadie said.
At this point, the hamster began to run in her wheel which made it all but impossible to hear any more of the tributes. Sadie got up to close the kitchen door.
“Earsplitting,” she said, returning to the table. “That hamster is earsplitting.”
After a few more kind remarks, the ritual was over.
“I think it went very well,” Sadie said. “Though it would have been better if we lived in a castle.”
While this may or may not be true, one thing is clear: we do need a date. My husband and I need to get out. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, but it should happen and soon. There’s been a lot going on lately. We’ve been surrounded by visiting relations (all of whom we love dearly.) There’s the fact that he’s working his head off and I can’t seem to stop volunteering at the school. I’ve got a book I’d like to read and a book I’d like to write and he’s got five projects going at once and the cat is meowing and… well, you get the picture. If you’ve got kids or family members of your own, you own the picture.
We are in need of a particular kind of “date night.” While I’ve got nothing against the handful of random movies we’ve been to in the recent months, sometimes I need more than a couple of hours of sitting in the dark together to get things back to normal and by “normal,” I mean a place where my husband and I don’t call each other “Mama” and “Papa.”
I think about a day several months ago, when we went for a walk in the pouring rain. With the hoods of our raincoats up, we had to turn our whole bodies to look at each other and this made us laugh. My husband had water spots on his glasses and our shoes were caked with mud and it was wonderful to see the clouds low and heavy over the city.
When we returned home, instead of going back to our desks to work, we got out of our wet clothes, climbed into bed and watched “To Catch a Thief.” For two hours, we were in a seaside resort with Grace Kelly and Cary Grant. When the movie was over, we got out of bed and he went back to his desk and I picked up the kids. But those two hours stayed with us for weeks. We felt as though we’d gotten away with something. And we’d gotten away with it together.
It was a wonderful day and just writing about it makes me certain it will happen again.
Tanya Ward Goodman also writes at http://youdearestyou.blogspot.com and http://twgoodman.blogspot.com Most recently, her work has been published in the anthology “A Cup of Comfort for a Better World.”