Yesterday Stuart and I had a wonderful anniversary. We didn't travel anywhere or do anything elaborate. We just went out for lunch and a movie. What made it especially nice was that it was just the two of us. We never ever do this anymore. We used to find time to go on a few date nights now and then but we haven't done this in a long, long time. With everything going on in our lives, it is easy to not take the time to schedule anything for just the two of us. We always say that we will but somehow it never happens.
A big reason we never have dates anymore is the obvious childcare issue. I'm so jealous of friends that have their parents right here to watch their children anytime they need childcare - for doctor appointments, date nights, whatever. I so wish we had that option. Instead we have to drop Nicholas and Rachel off at Adventure Kids which costs $7.50/hour for Nicholas and $9.00/hour for Rachel. Do the math - that's $16.50/hour for childcare! I think we might get a small discount if they are both there at the same time but still you can see how this gets costs prohibitive very quickly. And also we are confined to only the times and days that Adventure Kids is open and then the kids are surrounded by strangers, both in caretakers and other kids there.
This time we hired a babysitter. Our first babysitter. She has watched the children before at our Bible study group. She stays upstairs with all of the children while the adults are downstairs talking. But this was the first time we left our children at our house with her while we weren't there. Oh, it was hard for me. The car looked so empty and lonely without my two children's smiling faces in the backseat. As we were walking into the restaurant, I told Stuart that I felt like I was missing an appendage. No one was hanging on me, pulling my hair, crying, needing to be told to not play with the plants. It should have been nice but it was just too foreign for me.
We sat down at our table and I couldn't help but think of how Rachel would do a few hours from now once we were in the movie. She never eats when she is at Adventure Kids, no matter how long she is there. I was hoping that she would do better at home but I couldn't help but worry about her.
Eventually, I started to relax a little, just a little. Stuart and I started talking and laughing and it felt really good. We joked that we weren't having to tell Nicholas to get out from under the table or keeping Rachel from whining out of boredom. As I looked over my menu trying to decide what to order, I realized that I was actually tearing up. Not because of worry about the kids or guilt that we were out without them. I was tearing up from the release and happiness of actually getting a break. Yes, I feel a little like a bad mom for saying that but doesn't everyone need a break from time to time. And I know that Stuart and I needed some quiet time with just the two of us that didn't involve passing out on the couch at 9:00 at night after the kids are in bed and we are just exhausted.
So from there on the day only got better. We had a wonderful meal with lots of conversation and laughter. We got to the movie theater and as we were walking away from our car holding each other's hands I couldn't help but get a little skip in my step. We got our tickets but had some time before the movie started so we walked over to Barnes and Noble. I felt a little lost because I always have Nicholas with me when we go here so I spend all of my time in the children's section. Wait! You mean I can actually look at adult books, something just for me?! I tried that for a while but I still found myself over in the children's section shopping for them! Crazy, huh! We had a great relaxing time watching the new Star Trek movie...and I realized that I'm really a closet Trekkie. I really loved this movie!
I think we still ended up paying more for childcare than we did for our date but it was so worth it! We were completely relaxed, happy, and so in love. Hopefully we can make this a new habit every month or so.
And just so you know, Adventure Kids does offer gift certificates, in case you are ever in the mood to just give us a random gift :)