Friday Night was Date Night — our first one in four months, actually. Worse yet, it was our second one since The Dude was born. I take full responsibility for that.
I still get nervous and excited for our dates, which I think is a good thing, considering Scott and I have been together for almost five years now.
I couldn’t help but notice the love in our house — visible in obvious and non-obvious ways… the love notes I keep, little chores done, Mommy Time given and many more actions from my best friend.
I spend days thinking about everything from how lovely the glass of wine with dinner will taste to whether I should go for the new pink shoes or the white Audrey Hepburn-esque ballet flats (I went Audrey).
(Or was it “Enough, already!”???)
Weeks to prepare and I still had to run back inside for things twice because I forgot my cell phone and camera.
But away we went, earlier than expected because it was a short day of work for Scott and a day off for me, waving a quiet goodbye to the still-napping Z-Man and thanking Scott’s mom 10 times on our way out the door for watching the little guy.
Our original plan was to go to a highly-recommended Italian restaurant about 30 minutes away in Cumberland, Md. One of the great things about where we live is that in two hours or less we can pretty much make it close to the Ohio border and into Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia. In four hours we can hit my home area of the Garden State as well as New York state. I think there’s something so freeing about crossing a state line to go to dinner or along your Sunday drive. Anyway.
We passed our Welcome to Maryland sign and were just a mile or so away from the Cumberland exit we normally take when Scott said he had an idea. This sort of statement usually makes me chuckle, because at this point in our relationship, it’s meant everything from a last-minute weekend getaway to a home improvement project to a new videogame. Safer and less expensive than a new guest room, Scott suggested that we keep heading south for a bit into Morgantown, WVa., the home of Scott’s favorite college team, WVU. Within 30 seconds, I could tell that Scott had this in his mind for at least the duration of our trip so far and so I left the decision up to him, smiling as the wind from the window whipped my hair, waiting to see if the blinker would turn on or if we would continue.
And continue we did.
I think if Scott could live anywhere else, it might be West Virginia. I’ve exhausted all of the cousins-sisters-wives jokes on him already, and he’s still a major supporter of the state and possibly works for their tourism bureau on nights he says he’s out bowling. I think it’s simply the lush, dense forests and the similarities between the area he grew up in, minus some farms and homes and adding some larger rivers and winding ridges. And pick-ups. Adding a lot of pick-up trucks.
Not long after our spontaneous turn-off southward, it became quiet — the good quiet. We were playing the Alphabet Game (no, seriously, we are fiercely competitive with this and play every time we drive further than to the grocery store!) when suddenly I realized Scott was not just simply sucking at the game, he was just not playing anymore. He was taking in the scenery, holding tightly to myhand near the center of our two seats and smiling to himself. It was perfect. And so I gave him the peaceful time — and the loss.
We pulled into Morgantown, and well, no offense to its citizens, but it didn’t really do it for me. It needs a lot of love, and even Scott agreed that it wasn’t all that he remembered it being from trips there for baseball camp in high school. I think it was something about rose-colored glasses and the beloved football and basketball teams.
We still had a delicious dinner at a very cute Italian restaurant, filled with the only bit of serious talk we needed to get out of the way, before taking a little walk along the Monongahela River.
Then we decided to head up to Cumberland, a familiar and beloved spot on the way home. We took in the historic downtown area, walking the cobblestone streets and tapping intertwined hands to the beat of two different bands playing live in different corners of the canal area. We sat on a bench enjoying some ice cream, people-watched and walked along some nearby railroad tracks.
A perfect summertime evening.
I am so loved, I love so much.
As nice as it was to have some “just us” time, seeing our smiling little guy the next day was just as wonderful. Duders, your Momma and Daddy are refreshed and in love, and everybody wins in that equation.
You are so loved, my two guys, so loved.
Love, love, love.