This post also appeared on www.capecodonline.com/blogs in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.
So not only did I figure out how to make Mother’s Day special for my wife, I also managed to remind myself why I fell in love with her in the first place.
I spent most of the day on the phone with all the moms in my life trying to work out a schedule that made everyone happy and fit everyone’s schedules. So we will be taking MJ’s mom out Saturday night after my father-in-law gets out of work and spending Sunday with my mom and celebrating her birthday. That was all well and good but I realized the only one who didn’t have her own special time was my wife. So I went into scramble mode and put a plan into action.
If you’ll remember, I made a deal with MJ that if she made it to her 30th birthday on April 4 without giving birth, I would treat her to a luxurious dinner at the Capital Grille in Providence. But Will made his grand appearance on April 3 so she was cheated out of her birthday dinner. But last night, thanks to my wonderful mother-in-law who volunteered to babysit at the last minute, I was able to make reservations and surprise MJ with a trip to her favorite restaurant.
But even better, I may have started a tradition. I told her that we were going out on Friday night because while everyone else denotes just one day for Mother’s Day, I told her she deserved more than that. I told her she deserved a whole weekend of special treatment, starting with a mind-numbingly delicious meal.
But there was one thing I didn’t count on while devising my plan: that I would fall in love with her all over again. Sure the night started off as me desperately trying to figure out a way to make everyone happy. But then MJ changed into a dress, did her make-up and put on her high heels. When she came around the corner I got the same feeling in my stomach as the day I saw her dressed in white at the end of a church aisle walking toward me. She’s just so gorgeous it takes my breath away. Then after we dropped Will off, a funny thing happened. We talked. And not about the baby. We talked about things we used to talk about before Will was born. We joked, we laughed and we flirted the whole way there.
And while we were eating, I couldn’t help but remember the night I proposed to her. It happened right there in the same restaurant and it was just as impulsive. In December 2004 MJ went away on a trip and it was shortly after she left that I realized I never wanted to be without her again. And so the next day I began looking at rings and within a week I had one ordered. When it arrived I figured I’d wait until the time was right to pop the question. Well, I couldn’t hang onto that thing for more than 24 hours. So I made arrangements with the staff at the Capital Grille and told MJ my boss’ client was supposed to meet him for dinner but cancelled at the last minute (I worked in sales at this point), so he offered us the prepaid meal so it wouldn’t go to waste. She bought it.
Sitting there last night, I remembered how nervous I was throughout the whole meal. Rehearsing my speech in my head while she got a little tipsy on a bottle of Wild Horse Pinot Noir. I had arranged for the waiter to bring out dessert wine with the ring attached to the stem by a ribbon. When I saw him come around the corner with the glasses I was sure she could hear my heart pounding through my chest. And to make matters worse, she didn’t see the damn ring when he put the glass down. Finally, after what seemed like years, she saw the ring and her breath caught in her throat. And I’ll never forget the lovely exchange that followed:
MJ: “What the…shut up. That’s not for me is it?”
Me: “Honey, I love you so much…”
MJ: (interrupting) “SHUT UP! NO WAY! THAT’S NOT FOR ME!”
Me: (getting irritated) “Yes baby, it’s for you. I just want to tell you…”
MJ: “No f*cking way! You’re kidding.”
Me: “IT’S FOR YOU NOW WILL YOU JUST SHUT UP AND LET ME PROPOSE TO YOU!”
Ozzie and Harriet we are not. But she said yes and that was that.
Looking across the table at her last night after 5 weeks of devoting ourselves exclusively to the care of a new baby, I realized how easy it is to lose sight of the fact that she is more than a mother. It was like I rediscovered her last night and remembered how quirky, sexy and fun she is. I also remembered how quickly a martini makes her loopy. But the point is, all of you parents out there need to take a break from time to time and just go out and appreciate each other. No kid talk, no phone calls back to the babysitter and no discussions about daycare and formula.
If you just focus on each other you may find out you’ve been missing the person you first fell in love with.