By Diane Ako
We end up having date night about once a month. We are often tired by evening and lack the energy to go out on weekends. When we have the energy, we don't have a sitter. Now and then, it all comes together and we get to go out on the town.
Well, that's a relative term, I guess. I asked my mom to babysit on Friday night so we could have a date. We like to start early, because we like to be in bed by 9 p.m. "Come at 6," I requested.
"How long will you be out?" she asked.
I calculated how long dinner at the little restaurant down the street would take. This is America. People don't linger like they do in Europe. An hour should do it.
"Um... till 7:30," I replied.
There was a pause. And then snickering. "That's all?" she asked, poorly hiding her incredulity.
I actually felt a little embarrassed. This, after all, is an 80 year old woman who regularly stays out way past my bedtime. "Oh. Welllllll. 8 o'clock, then."
"OK," she said in a more approving tone.
Next thing you know, my mom will be picking out a sexier dress for me and making sure we book at a romantic restaurant instead of the casual neighborhood cafe. I'm in my 30's and I still need my mom.
IT'S ALL DARK AT THE AKO HOUSE
My dad makes fun of me, too. He, on a more regular basis. He has regular meetings for his various clubs, symphony tickets, or social dinners. They are often just starting their night at 7, when I'm wrapping mine up.
I see or talk to my parents five to seven days a week. About once a week, a conversation goes like this: I ask "How'd your dinner go?" My dad will say, "We drove by your house on our way out. I guess you were sleeping. It was all dark in the Ako household." Then he'll chuckle.
I know my world is small and dull. I still like it.
I blame Olivia. We get into the night time routine at 5ish. We eat dinner, clean up, shower, brush teeth, blow dry hair, and scramble into my bed for a story. When the lights go out by 7:30 p.m., I cuddle with her for at least five minutes.
On Claus' two nights a week that he leaves for jujitsu, I usually fall asleep in bed with her. He comes home and puts her in her room. I love those nights. I love the feel of my little girl lying next to me, all sleepy sweetness, in that big, cushy bed. This is partially why I've stalled in returning to jujitsu myself.
The other nights of the week, he gives it a five minute time limit then carries her, drowsy, to her room. Then he comes back to our bedroom and tries to make me get out of bed and hang with him in the living room. It doesn't always work. Sometimes I insist on staying in bed.
*sigh* So many of my evenings start with big plans. I think I'm going to get up and do more work or get through that stack of magazines, after we put Olivia to sleep. And then I get in that warm, cozy, wonderfully soft bed and I'm a prisoner to its charms. Aah, there's always tomorrow.
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