Sunday, June 13, 2010

Date Night

My mother always frowned on gift certificates for close friends and family. In general I agree that the value of a gift is more than just monetary. Seeing how someone else sees you - especially when they get it exactly right - is so touching. And some of the best gifts I've ever gotten were things I'd never have purchased for myself but loved having.

That said, some of the most thoughtful gifts I've ever received have been gift certificates, too. Like my friend who knows that I love Kaldi's but can't always afford to write at a booth under a charming pendant light while sipping latte and eating zucchini sunflower bread.

My mother-in-law frequently gives me gift certificates, too, and I really really appreciate them. She treats me with things I wouldn't buy for myself but totally crave. A year and a half ago she sent Paul and me each a gift certificate for an hour-long massage plus $50 for a babysitter. How cool is that?!

So Saturday night Paul and I had an unconventional date night.

(I do tend to hold onto gift certificates longer than I should, perhaps enjoying the feeling of promise and something to look forward to almost like enjoying the wrapped presents under a Christmas tree.)

The girls were thrilled to finally have a babysitter again, after months of deprivation. Paul and I relaxed into absolutely fabulous late afternoon massages followed by an early dinner at a favorite restaurant. (I amused myself by looking at women as they walked in and guessing: Mom? Not a Mom. There's a particularly harried expression many parents wear while dining out with their young children.)

After dinner we popped across the street for dessert at Borders. Yes, the bookstore. We spent a couple of relaxing hours with coffee, books, magazines, and each other. (Naturally we brought home something for the kids every place we stopped with the exception of the spa. And that was a near thing.)

But we still had a little time to kill before heading home - the whole point of hiring a babysitter for date night is to get a night off from the evening routine, isn't it? - so we stopped in at Office Depot.

I needed a new file box and some Sour Patch Kids. We took a relaxing drive through some lovely neighborhoods with no one demanding that we sing along to "I've Been Working On the Railroad."

Paul took the sitter home and I got set up with my fabulous new supplies, then we watched Inside Man and I reorganized my "office" filing system.

Great night!

My friend laughed this morning and said that if I told single people about this particular date night they'd run screaming. Hah! But it works for us. We're geeks like that, and we were before we had kids, too.


RobMonroe said...

Sounds wonderful!

Speaking of gift giving - your beloved Sister-In-Law has neglected to send Paul a birthday gift. It might be hand delivered in a few weeks. Oy! I can promise that it's one of those "when i remember to send it" sort of things - It has been here for weeks!

Kim said...

I think my husband and I spent all of our date nights, usually dinner at a restaurant, talking about our kids and considering ourselves pretty lame for doing so. We have one child in college and one just out of college now, and we still do the same.

For Father's Day, I just sent my dad a gift certificate to a restaurant in the town they live in (near you - Belleville) because they won't go out and spend money on a nice restaurant for themselves. I'll be they talk about my sister and me - and the grandkids - the whole time.

Sarahlynn said...

Kim, I bet my husband wishes I'd just talk about the kids instead of the inanities I pontificate about as alternatives.

I've relaxed the "rules" but read somewhere that you're not "supposed" to talk about kids on Date Nights so we had a couple of quiet meals before giving up on that! When I was home with my girls as newborns they were my entire world and I had nothing else to talk about. Now that they're a little older I can intersperse them with other topics. Like who should win So You Think You Can Dance?

Rob, thanks to Anny for that! I had a fabulous idea for Abby's birthday that would be 1) potentially useful, 2) not take up any packing room, 3) could even be for the journey west. But . . . it requires much execution on our parts, and so . . . is delayed.

Many sorries to Abby!

Kathy G said...

Your "date night" sounds pretty familiar to me (except for the massage part. I'd like to try that sometime).

My theory is a "date" is whenever you and your hubby are out by yourselves, even if it's just running errands or hanging out.

Sarahlynn said...

I like your theory!

grace said...

i have never run screaming from a massage.

Sarahlynn said...

No indeed. Man, I could get used to that sort of pampering.

elissa said...

sounds like a perfect date night!

Sarahlynn said...

It was! ;-)

Emom said...

My sweetie and I just lived through a year of unemployment....we took ourselves to B&N for coffee and magazines almost every date night, and then asked for gift cards for Birthdays....we have had a ball! smiles.

Barrie said...

Sounds like fun!! We had a "sort of date night" this evening when we went to Costco. Just the two of us. ;)