five-date

Five Date Challenge? Challenge Accepted.

Mandy Arioto honestly

Last Saturday night the stars aligned in our universe. The children who live in our house, the womb-mates as we affectionately refer to them, were each invited to various sleepovers. Three kids. Three sleepovers. ON THE SAME NIGHT.

Miraculous.

Time for a Date Night. We went to a fancy-schmancy romantic restaurant that Joe found, played truth or dare in said fancy-schmancy restaurant, spent more money on dinner than we should have and breathed and talked and held hands as we left. It was perfect.

The importance of dating is obvious, but truthfully it is sometimes lost on me. I like hanging with my kids, it’s pricey to book a babysitter and sometimes it feels like a lot of effort to get out of the house. In other words I am really lame occasionally. Can I add one more excuse to the mix? We just moved (9 months ago) and have had the hardest time finding a babysitter we trust. Whew, that is a lot of excuses. I told you, lame.

But Saturday we had no excuses. So we dated. And what it helped me to remember is that experiencing life without kids from time to time is essential. It is a reminder that we’re more than just the parents which is easy to forget, especially when you have three children to feed clothe and keep alive. I was also reminded how much fun we have together as a couple. And for us, it’s the best therapy money can buy.

Saturday night made me want to grow old with Joe. Not because we have children together or because we signed a silly piece of paper with some official sounding wording on it, but because I enjoy him. He makes me laugh and soothes my nerves when I freak out about situations I have no control over. He knows me better than anyone in the whole world and is willing to play truth or dare with me in a crowded restaurant. Regardless of the stress in our lives, spending time with Joe, just Joe, reminds me that I willingly choose him. Again and again and again.

It’s the “I love you” that matters. Even though we tell each other daily, before going to bed with a child or dog laying between us, in the morning as he’s heading out the door for work and on the weekends when we’re loading the refrigerator with smashed blueberries from the grocery store (Sweetie? Next time don’t put the milk in with the berries/ Whoops, sorry/ It’s okay. I still love you/ I love you, too.) it means something different when it is just him and me. And it is good to remember that him and me still works. That this thing we started 15 years ago when he called me out of the blue with the cheesiest pick up line you have ever heard, has turned into something deeper than I could have hoped for. And just for the record, he still uses cheesy pick up lines on me to ensure a date night after party. And they still work.

P.S. The Five Date Challenge. I’ll tell you about it real quick. It’s a great way to sauce things up with hubby. Go to MOPS.org/mobile for all the details. (Can you say chance to win an all-expense paid trip to a dreamy location?) Play the Truth or Dare game in the app. It is hilarious (can you say naked cartwheel?) and will make for great conversation. Also, no matter how creative you are it is hard to come up creative date ideas on a regular basis- the Date Plan-o-matic has lots of fun ideas if you aren’t feeling very inspired. Ok, that’s it friends. God speed and truth or dare.