Date Night, Past and Present

Tonight, while my parents are at Shaker Village celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary, Andy and I hired a babysitter to watch all three kids for the first time and we dined at Brio where I had the lobster ravioli and Andy had some sort of chicken pasta dish and then we saw Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris,” which we both enjoyed, and I wore my nest egg necklace and a new, cream-colored cotton skirt, and only called the babysitter once (for which I was proud).

The children were fine. We are all fine.

Me, especially.

The night out was much needed. And upon returning home, Sophie heard my voice in her sleep. And woke. “Mama?” I went upstairs, cupping the back of her head with my hand, guiding her back to bed. I pulled the quilt all the way up to her neck, something I remember my Grandma doing once, when we spent the night at her house. Sophie smiled. I crawled into bed with her. She really smiled.

“Did Annie go home?” she sleepily asked.

“Yes,” I said.

“Oh,” she said.

“Did you have fun?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said.

“I came back,” I said.

“Yes,” she said.

“I’ll always come back,” I said.

“Yes,” she said.

A pause.

Then, “Scratch my back.”

I did. Her eyes grew heavy, then closed for good.

I often think back to Saturday nights when I had no children, Saturday nights when dinner and a movie was only a luxury, a special event, because of how much it cost, not because of the logistics of childcare. But this homecoming, curled up in a pile of handmade quilts with my daughter in her pink and orange polka-dotted pajamas, a stuffed giraffe and a fabric bunny squished between the iron headboard and our heads, beats any out later, at-home quieter, more frequent Saturday homecoming of the past.

For this, I am thankful.

“You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.” —Jan Glidewell