Kids make a lot of things really great. Will has blessed us in so many ways I could never list them all here. Kids really are the best and I’m so lucky to have him.
But kids also wreck some shit you used to really like.
MJ and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary on Friday night. My parents volunteered to watch Will which meant we had a night all to ourselves. And we planned to spend it doing the things we loved to do before kids—the old dinner & a movie.
Our dinner reservations were at a very upscale restaurant for 7:30 p.m., followed by a 9:40 p.m. showing of Sherlock Holmes 2. For people who are usually in bed by 9:30, it was a pretty aggressive itinerary. The restaurant was very nice. It was at a quaint, historic inn with an extensive menu and a very—let’s call it “foo-foo” atmosphere. Honestly I always feel more than a little out of place at places like that, but I wanted to give MJ something nice.
As all parents know, going out to eat isn’t nearly as enjoyable with kids. First of all you have to make sure you go to a “kid place.” And that means nothing fancy. When you get there you launch into this routine that puts you on edge until you leave again. You have to get your kid past the front entrance where all the arcade games are. God help you if you forget quarters. Then the coat needs to come off and you need to sit the kids on the inside so you can cordon them off from the general public.
Suddenly timing becomes unbelievably essential. You have to place your kid’s order first, but not too soon. You want your kids to get their food about 10 minutes before yours comes. Any later and your kid will be done eating when your food arrives, meaning you won’t get to eat at all. Or if you do, it’ll be at the expense of your spouse as you tag-team caretaking duties between bites.
All in all if you get in and out as quickly as possible without a major incident, it’s been a good night.
Fast forward to Friday night. MJ is dressed to the max looking like a model and I’m in a jacket, dress shirt and slacks. We sit down, order drinks and bask in the glow of the candlelight and romantic ambiance. A few minutes go by. Then five. Then 10 minutes pass. Suddenly the internal parent alarm inside my head started flashing red.
“Where the hell is the waitress? We have to order,” I said in a huff.
MJ told me to relax. That dinner at fine dining places like this one are more like events that last for hours. She told me we should take the time to unwind and enjoy each other’s company. And she was right. Absolutely, positively right.
But it didn’t matter.
The longer it took to order, get our appetizers and get our food, the more irate and annoyed I became. I couldn’t relax or take it easy. I just had the unyielding need to hurry things up and get going. It’s been pounded into me as a parent for almost four years, and I don’t think I can escape it anymore.
We ended up missing the movie because dinner took so long. As it turns out, that was a blessing in disguise. We drove home, flirted a little, got to bed and—well, I think you know what happened next. Yup, I came back from the bathroom to find my wife snoring and sound asleep. Which makes sense. After all, it was almost 10:30 p.m.
Oh well. That’s part of the territory when you become a parent.
In closing, I want to tell my beautiful wife that just because I now feel the need to rush through meals, doesn’t mean I love her any less. In fact, I love her more now than ever. But I have to admit, our wedding day was one of the best of my life. Have a look.