Monday, February 11, 2008

A Great Date

I love my family. I love my children, and I love doing things with them.


Having said that (and very convincingly, I might add), there is usually a point in every outing we take – and it usually has something to do with buckling car seats (don’t even get me started on how I KNOW that car seat laws have everything to do with making you buy a bigger car and very little to do with safety; and don’t even try arguing with me because I am very diplomatically stating here that I won’t listen) – when I say to myself, “THIS is something we should do without the kids.” And I try to log it into that memory file titled, “Things to Do on a Date.”


Only that file never wants to open on the rare occasions when I actually need it. And so standard date fare around here has been dinner, a stroll around Target (which makes it high-class), and a coffee from Starbucks if our local favorite (The Griffin) is closed. We usually spend a little time in a bookstore, gasping at prices and mocking the religion/philosophy section. And, believe it or not, I actually enjoy these excursions. (Why wouldn’t you believe me? Taking the trash to the dump without children can be a luxury!)


But I have always felt uncreative on our dates. The food is good, the company outstanding, the occasional silence restful, but the creative outlet? Gone.


And so when my saint of a sister offered to fulfill her Christmas present to us and baby-sit the children after a half-day of school on Friday, we eagerly accepted. YES! GREAT! WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?




I shoved the auto-pilot mode of “dinner, Target, coffee and some books” aside and searched for something creative. “Bowling” and “mini-golf” came to mind but were instantly shoved aside by fatigue. But when I started thinking about the times that have been the most restful and most enjoyable for us, I realized that they usually did not involve stores and commerce but country and nature. So I started thinking down that avenue.


We ended up grabbing a bite for lunch and driving out into the country. We explored some roads that we had wanted to explore before (actually, one of them is where we went blackberry picking 5 years ago and were chased by dogs, but the good news is that we saw that that house has been totally torn down so I am guessing the dogs are gone, too?). We found a members-only campground and golf course about ten minutes from our house.


We continued driving, stopping at Gitie’s, a quaint antique/collectibles/yard sale/junk store on the way. We ended up at Colonial Beach off of the Potomac River. The weather was in the mid-50’s, the bright sunshine warm on our backs. We wandered down the pier, listening to the sounds of the gulls and cormorants (picture below), the gulls sounding like panicked women, the cormorants like belching beer-guzzlers. We daydreamed about living in some of the huge Victorian painted ladies or more modest beach cottages. We drove to one of the marinas, where Ethan explained the different equipment used to haul boats out of water.


The chocolate lattes we enjoyed perfectly complimented the outstanding peanut butter pie at Espresso Station in the middle of town, where we lazily watched bicyclers and pedestrians saunter in for a drink, each greeting acquaintances already sipping, some receiving a hug from the barista. We looked at a town map and located a newly renovated playground. After finishing our refreshment, we found the playground and decided it merited a trip with the kids, especially as it is only a block from the coffee shop.


And on the drive home, we discussed our future and our hopes for our family and our church. A thrift-store stop provided some much-needed bowls and a Dutch oven, a pair of maternity jeans, a lamp for Ben’s desk, and a magnetic sculpture.


We grabbed a light supper and enjoyed giggling at our over-exuberant waiter and watching other exasperated parents with their children.


And when we got home, we were HAPPY to see our kids. We were refreshed, we were rejuvenated, and we were home.


And today? There’s laundry, there’s homeschool, there’s meals to prepare, trash to take out, and sourdough starter to feed. But there’s also the memory of my husband’s face as he gazed out over the Potomac, his intense blue eyes making the blue of the sky and the blue of the water seem washed out. There’s the “I should have known he would know that” joy of hearing him answer, “I think it’s a cormorant,” when I asked, “Is that those BIRDS making that hideous noise?” And there’s the calm realization that the true peace of that day was provided in the knowledge that the Lord has already given us all we need. We were able to take the time to reflect and relax and contemplate His goodness to our family.


And it IS good.

   A cormorantA cormorant



  1. oh yes - i am definitely a saint. always. :)

  2. I'm glad that you had such a nice time. There is so much pleasure to be found in the simple things of life.


  3. good for you for having a real date. On the rare occasion we go out, we usually end up at Wal-Mart. Pathetic but true.


Related Posts with Thumbnails
Protected by Copyscape Duplicate Content Detection Tool