Let's be honest: at the end of a long day, which followed a long week, the last thing I want to do is put on pants with real closures (read: non-scrubs) and squeeze my feet into shoes that look pretty but feel less so (I average 13k steps on 10-hour shift—tired, puffy feet are par for the course).
What I'm saying is, despite our best intentions when it comes to keeping the romance alive, date nights often dissolve into catch up on the DVR night with take 'n bake pizza. When that happens, which is more often than not, I take solace in the fact that we aspire to date which means we still care. I'll worry when we don't even bother.
One of the many things I've learned since going back to work full-time is that I'm so much more productive when I have less time. I prioritize, plan, and follow through like never before. Our house is tidier; our sheets get changed every Sunday; we make the bed every morning, complete with throw pillows (who are we?); stray papers have a place and surfaces are regularly de-cluttered. I'm winning at this whole domestic thing (and so are the boys). Who'd have thought fewer free days would result in a shorter to-do list? (Answer: Not me.)
A few weeks ago I approached Mario with a list of my week days off in September and asked him to pick a day that was light on meetings or that he wouldn't mind missing (preferably a Monday or Friday). We created an event in our shared calendar, he filed a PTO request, and together we dedicated September 11 to what I hope will become the first of our dedicated monthly day dates.
We explored the city, peeked in windows, dreamed of loft living in downtown, ate our way through neighborhoods, and crossed a bunch of places off my must-see list. We held hands like newlyweds, laughed a lot, and talked about the future. A couple of work calls sneaked their way into the day, but for the most part it was just about us being together. The date continued while we watched Kiddo's cross country meet, and the evening was spent as a family. Saturday was devoted to mother-son time, and Sunday I went back to work feeling like I'd done more in two days off than I did in the whole month of April.
P.S. It's a rather lovely feeling, this whole productivity thing.
P.P.S. It recently occurred to me that my marriage is aging quite beautifully. It's true: We enjoy each others company more as time passes. It's rather wonderful.
P.P.P.S. Mario went to no less than three plant stores with me. He's a saint. In exchange, I shared a cheese and sausage plate with him at our first lunch. (Dude loves cured meats and funky cheese.)