My husband and I met when he was in college and I was in my last year of high school. He worked two jobs, one during the day and one at night. He also took classes when he had time. We had become friends and then he decided he wanted a “date.” Yes, he wanted to ask me out and be more than friends. (I had been wondering when he would figure this out but apparently he just needed some time…guys can be a little dense like that!)
The difficult thing was finding a time in our schedule and figuring out what we could do. That evening he called me and invited me to go get either a slush or coffee with him. It was my choice. He had just finished work and invited me to meet him at his place so we could just take one car and we would go together. We had a standing joke between us that I “owed” him a slush or a cappuccino because he had helped me with some mailing labels that were in Russian. It’s a long story……..anyway, when he called to ask me out he reminded me that I did owe him a drink. So, I quickly agreed and headed out the door to meet him. I had been waiting for a phone call like this for several weeks, and I thought it was about time!
I met him outside his apartment as he arrived home from work. We both got in his car and began driving toward the general direction of the coffee shop. After 5 minutes we were so wrapped up in our conversation that we drove right past several coffee shops and ended up on the other side of town. We laughed and turned around, deciding to get a slush instead and then made the same mistake again. We completely lost ourselves in our discussion and an hour later realized that we had been driving all over town but never arriving anywhere! We decided to go back to his apartment so I could get my car and head home, and we planned another date for another evening. But yes, that was our first date. We never actually went anywhere but instead took the scenic tour of our entire town! I don’t think anyone would call it romantic but I think it is pretty characteristic of our relationship now. We’re still just the very best of friends.
Ok, so what do our dates look like now? Well, on evenings when we’ve both had a difficult day and there are things to talk to each other about that just cannot wait, we head for the car with the kids in tow. We take everyone potty, grab a blankie for each child, pack up snacks and drinks, let them pick a toy or doll to hold, get an audio book, and then we back out of the drive. By the time we’ve left the neighborhood the kids are all listening to an audio book while munching snacks, sipping water, snuggling with blankies, and playing with dolls and action figures. The car is quiet and our conversation has begun in earnest. It’s the only way we can ensure that we know what our kids are doing while still being able to remain focused on each other. And we drive to nowhere in particular but enjoy the quiet back roads and never arrive at any destination.
If we try this at home the kids end up fighting and coming to find us to referee. At home we can’t ever win. But when everyone is in their own carseat with their own toy, snack, drink, and blankie all is right with the world and we enjoy some moments to catch up. In those times we can work out the stress of the day, be a listening ear, and encourage each other. Any time something big has come up and we feel the immediate need to share with the other person we pile into the car. We’ve just recreated our very first date – only with spectators!