Someone once said to us, while shaking their head in a disapproving manner, that we must love complications in life as everything we possess is a big unfinished project.
They were right; a house that needed complete renovation (including new roof, new plaster on all walls and ceiling, and new windows), a vintage VW practically in pieces in paid-for storage in Lancashire and our boy, in hospital, needing serious medical attention.
We are getting better at this. The house is, finally after almost five years, nearly finished. The car has been swapped for another VW that is roadworthy. And Finn, luckily, touch wood and all that, is out of hospital and settled at school.
The complications of this five year period have weighed heavy. It seems we have forgotten how to communicate without references to décor, vehicles and children.
Date nights (something I had been distinctly amused by when others suggested them) are a recent feature of us. We’ve had two so far since the arrival of Tilly 18 months ago. On the first night out we walked into town together without holding hands… so used to being on parent mode and ready to save the children from dangers.
If the advice for first dates is not to visit the cinema because you won’t be able to talk then the advice for the first date post-children conversely should be take in a film. This way you both get a bit of escapism and don’t have the airtime for home -life discussions.
We had forgotten how to be just the two of us with time to relax. And it is no wonder…hell, we even take a tag team approach to reading the weekend papers these days.
A friend made me feel easier about this after admitting she and hubby spent their first two date nights post-baby involved in ‘co-ordinating diaries’ . By date three they relaxed, enjoyed some wine and planned future dates.
We recently celebrated six years of marriage. Tempus fugit and all that… double the effect of passing time with small children and their milestones whizzing by. Children come first and it’s absolutely the right way but we deserve a few hours a month, a reliable babysitter and a chance to be a little more glamorous than the daily routine allows.
Our second date night was at Magpie Cinema; less a movie – more an event. We got dressed up and shared a few strong, organic ciders. We walked the long way home and called for an after- hours pizza. It has quickly started to resemble the old days of our relationship.
This weekend we are going to attend a family wedding at the place where we had our celebration. I clearly remember being swept up by the dresses, frets about the weather and considerations of table plans. It’s hard to envisage the marriage ahead of you.
If the pile of home and family projects we had undertaken in early marriage are coming to fruition then it’s time to thinking about our more personal project. It’s time to take out time for fun and start to be a tiny bit selfish about us again.
The next date is in the diary. We are looking forward to the Hebden Bridge Arts Festival Andy Weatherall night at the Trades on the 29th where we are going to tuck up the children, glam up and head out for some good music and great company. (And I’m feeling pre-date butterflies again.)