Date Night (Redefined)
If you are a Facebook friend, you may recall this particular photo. Taken yesterday (well, maybe Friday for most of us), it represented Peter's preparation for our 'date night' last night. I know, aren't we still separated by 5,000 odd miles (give or take)?
We are, but a friend suggested this idea, I passed it along to Peter and he ran with it. We were going to meet up at 10 p.m. my time, 5 a.m. his time and have a date. No kids, just us, a glass of wine, a slice or two of one's local artisan cheese. I opted for the Seaside cheddar whereas Peter thought about, but passed on, the local option of Cheese Whiz (a P/X specialty). There was only one problem...as the day passed, I became less and less excited about the prospect and more depressed, for lack of a better term.
Let's face it...even in this modern day and age, does one really think of Skyping as a date? Actually, I am sure many do, and I am not saying it can't be. However, my day was bad going on worse and I realized the last thing I wanted to do was have a date by computer. I wanted to be in the same room, cuddled up together on the same cushy couch (TMI? Oops, sorry...) not hours and miles apart. I also hadn't thought about it at first, but then realized he couldn't actually drink the wine...so I would be there having a glass by myself while he would likely sip a Coke Zero..oh, the romance. The hour grew closer and I became more stressed. I had run out of several crucial items, made a hurried run to the grocery store with Nicholas in tow and thought I would make it home on time.
Peter texted me that he was running late and that was fine. We were still trying to get home and a groggy Nicholas was on the brink of sleep. I drove around for a few more minutes, he was completely out, and I put him in the crib, sound asleep, when I arrived at home. Meanwhile, I had 5 other chores that simply had to be completed before I could sit down. I had emailed Peter several times and out of desperation, finally realized it just wasn't the right time. He had other things to do and decided that perhaps Sunday night was better.
Then I sat down and looked at the Facebook photo again and fell apart. He was trying so hard, and I was just so focused on it being perfect, but in my mind that meant in person or at least in the same time zone. Then I realized it wasn't just that, but other stresses over the past two weeks that had built up and I just hit a wall. We didn't end up having a date, but did end up having a long talk...several, in fact, that weren't necessarily pretty, but were so needed.
The biggest issue? My preconceptions of what our lives should or shouldn't be at this point. I was trying to utilize strategies that in my heart I knew would not work. Instead of just being myself, I was working too hard at not stressing out so that the kids would not feel worse. Guess what? Completely and utterly back-fired. Instead of allowing myself to just be me, I was so worried that any upset would flip them out...that I ended up being an impatient, cranky mess most of the time. I stopped worrying about perfection, and I have been much happier since. It's not happiness and light 100% of the time, but it's far more normal for all of us.
And the date night? Well, I still have that bottle of wine...and the cheese is in the fridge, ready to be sliced. Even in the same time zone (and at the right time), Peter isn't a big wine drinker, and we both know that he is a morning person, whereas night owl is stamped on my forehead. Let's not forget that the last few times we watched a movie together, he was snoring in minutes. Conversely, online he is wide awake and there are no other distractions. Maybe, just maybe, this is the perfect date...I just needed to realize that just because it doesn't meet the standard doesn't give it any less value. By my clock it's 3:20 a.m. in Peter's neck of the woods. Plenty of time to finish out the day's activities here, slice the cheese, and let the wine breathe...before I click call on Skype.