Thursday, August 13, 2009

Date Night

Last night I had one of those wide-eyed, awe struck simple flashes of a second that had me almost using my sand-laden fingers for a good pinch, just to make sure I was awake. Just to make sure that this is really, really my life.

Here's a rundown list of why...
:: flat water kayak to the point, a sandy carved out tip of land that welcomes the vibrant waters of Little Traverse Bay to its shore.
:: Swimming in said bay, the freshwater slice of heaven we live alongside. The water was cold, the first twenty steps a careful balance along slimy rocks. And then, a few steps of sand...and nothing. The bottom drops out like an underwater canyon, and you can peer down into its clear depths and see light bend and dance and when you come back up for air--I don't know-- you feel brand new.
:: Sharing a towel, fresh made pasta dinner and Bells Oberon beer with my husband. We watched the sun start to set behind us. Looking forward, we caught another daily ritual of nature as the bay shifted, camouflaging into the darkness of night.
:: laughing as we paddled back to the mainland, and getting ice cream without any small hands to wipe or chins to clean (although he did have to wipe my fleece twice).
:: Riding home under a star-filled sky, and remembering to appreciate that we live in a place that puts planetariums to shame. Our black nights are that deep. The ceiling of our world is a constant switchboard of stars.

(photos all taken from a previous date...last night we were so excited to get out, we forgot the camera!)
Ah, date night. Every Wednesday Justin and I sneak away for a few hours, mostly to kayak and catch the end of daylight along our hometown's horizon. There are so many reasons I look forward to these evenings.

:: the ability to recharge
:: the fresh eyes I get each time I look back at our town from the water
:: the silence that comes with a sleeping household upon return.

But mostly it is this: the conversations, both spoken and not, I get to share with my partner in life and parenting.

Something I've come to understand-- especially as we've added more little ones to our flock-- is how important time together (and by together, I mean, just the two of us) really is. It gives us a chance to catch up on the little things, like how I secretly wish earwigs would disappear from the planet all together, or how his legs are sore from a hard ride. It allows us to take trips down memory lane, laughing at how much we've grown and changed, sometimes together, and sometimes with one person running in circles until we again find our stride. We talk about really big ideas and family values, we dream and scheme for the future.

And we sit, side by side.

One of the million things I've learned about the parenting journey-- especially for mamas who think a lot about what it means to parent-- is that if you have a partner to share in the load of life and love, being connected opens up so much more space for energy, creativity, and joy. And for those who balance the juggling act on their own, well, that's one more reason why we mamas need to live in community and a shared spirit of celebration and purpose-- because we should all be each other's belay system, if you know what I mean (and if not, never fear, I'm cooking up words on this very subject right now)!

Here's to the time you carve out for your papas-- whether it is a few hours or a few minutes, time on the water or a walk in the woods...or maybe just meeting on the front porch or back deck for some quiet time once the little ones are asleep. Just put it on your schedule-- once a week-- and see what happens. I promise, you won't regret it.


Kat said...

Beautiful, beautiful post. How lucky you are. And how I completely agree with you too. Keeping that connection is so important and so valuable. :)

castaway said...

Kate, this says it all ... where you live is surely a boon, but your decision to live there is what counts ... one might well live in some such place and never once see the stars or hear the rush of midnight waves ... hats off to you and your family.

Sara said...

A couple of months ago, my husband and I designated two date nights a week. We don't actually get to leave the house, but we make sure we only spend time together on those nights, no other projects. It has done wonders for our relationship!

gennysent said...

Kate, I don't know how you found me, but I'm sure glad you did. What a wonderful voice you have (writing voice that is!) We get so excited when it's just the two of us we hardley know what to do most of the time (it's usually naptime) neat to have found you. And the North woods, not sure where that is exactly, but my sister has lived in both rural northern Minnesota (Grand Marais) and now in very rural Alaska. Both were or are near little slices of heaven. Minnesota boundary waters is where I first sat in a canoe in silence. Speaking of humbling, that was humbling!

Amy said...


Thank you for finding me and commenting on my blog! Looking forward to reading more of you!

luke and pamela said...

wow, really lovely words and ideas. luke & i have had a date night every thursday for 4 years now, but we have been off track lately with our new little one. we also lost some of that connectedness for awhile. it's coming back now and feels so amazingly right. thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

i enjoyed your comment on my blog today. From quickly glancing through your blog - I think you live in Michigan right? that is where I am from. One day I would like to take my family back to Traverse City.

You have a beautiful family : )

eringoodman said...

5 years into this whole parenting gig, my husband and i are just now(finally) coming back into a place of honoring and prioritizing our time as a couple. what a difference it has made for our whole family!

thank you for sharing this lovely slice of your life.

Laurie said...

I think that one of the best gifts you can give your children is an example of a happy marriage. Thanks for reminding us to treasure our partners =)

RusticOkie said...

Wonderful post. The hubby and I try to do the very same thing. It's not always often but we try to make it count when it does happen. We try to do a serious date night once a month. The kiddo stays at her grandmas and dh and I just enjoy some togetherness (even if we don't leave the house)

We are a stronger, happier family because of it.

Sus said...

so glad i waited to comment on this until i read justin's post about you making him one half of a worm.


sorry, i'm feeling a little snarky tonight. which is a totally inappropriate response to your heartfelt post, which i truly and sincerely loved and appreciated.