Most weekends in my house begin a little something like this: Friday night, come home exhausted and change into comfy clothes, whip up something to eat that is typically microwavable or deliverable and void of the nutrition I try to give my family the other six days of the week, and settle into the couch for a sub-par Netflix rental (seriously, I can’t seem to get anything GOOD from Netflix lately). Our son is fast asleep upstairs and my husband and I might look over at one another with satisfying smiles as if to say “good job honey, we survived another week of this full-time-working-parenting thing.” The silence mingles with the TV’s special effects of aliens landing in the background, and by 11 p.m. I am struggling to keep my eyes open. The early morning is swimming around my head knowing it will come whether I want it to or not.
But last Friday, we decided to do something different. Yes, there was still the pizza delivery and Netflix resting on the table, its envelope just waiting to be opened. But instead we did not turn on the TV. After putting our son to bed we decided to build a fire in our fire pit out back and have a date night. We took a bottle of wine out to the campsite, manipulated the monitor into the tree where it would stay in range, turned on some tunes, brought the dog out for some late-night fun and settled into our bonfire mode..
The stars were in full force, and punctuated the navy sky. It reminded me of one of my favorite college memories. My friends and I were camping at a concert and after one too many drinks, I was trying to point out the constellations. Each of us leaned our head backs and stared up into the night sky. I pointed out what I hoped was the North Star, leaning to the left, while my other girlfriend pointed to the right that she saw it. Another girlfriend pointed to an entirely different section of the night sky, saying she saw the same cluster of stars that we really had no clue what they were forming. Our one friend noticed these silly ladies thinking we were all Galileo and proudly told us we were in fact not even looking at the same stars, and none of us were right.
Thankfully my star-gazing prowess has improved and I could finally point out the Big Dipper with my husband. His affection for the moon is always a joke we laugh about. “Look at that heavenly body” he once told me pointing upward. The fire crackled and the wine warmed our throats. The conversation was one of our week, our marriage and our love for whatever song was on the iPod at the time. As soon as the talk got too serious, the monitor would go off or the wine would run dry. The only special effects were the flames dancing around the brick pit my husband built for me a few years back. We laughed, realizing our dog had super-powers of seeing in the dark and could run circles around the uneven terrain in the yard. But alas, it was more so the fact that he spends all day outside and knows the yard like the back of his paw.
We lost track of time it seemed and for a while I felt as though we weren’t in our backyard. I realized how easy it is to lose track of “us” sometimes when life gets too hectic. It’s easy to think we are connecting over a shared smile or familiar and obligatory kiss good bye in the morning and “I love you” at night. None of it means we love each other any less, it just means we are comfortable and at ease. But without saying anything, it was obvious we both longed for a night like long ago. A good old-fashioned date night where connecting with one another was the thing that made us fall in love to begin with. Silly inside jokes and amazement at how far we’ve come. This is what Friday night should be. How I wish it would last forever.
If only we didn’t have a 6:30 a.m. wake up call on Saturdays.