Back in the Berkeley days, one of my favorite things to get at the farmers market was dates. There was a table from Flying Disc Ranch and they had something called a Barhi. On the sweetness scale, they were not quite as candied as the more popular Medjool, but its texture was unbeatable. These demure dates were soft and unctuous, with a rich and honeyed sweetness underneath a thin and brittle papery skin. The didn’t quite melt in the mouth, but it was pretty darn close.
In theory, I could still mail order these amazing morsels direct from the farm. But I’m not quite able to justify the exorbitant expense to myself.
The same is true about the other kind of dates. Those would be the ones with Mrs. Fussy. It seems like before we had kids we would go out and do things. Not dates exactly. Mostly we would hang out with friends. Dinners alone just kind of happened. Sometimes they would be fancy, other times they would be simple.
Now, any time alone is a rare treat. And I suppose like the other kind of date, with some additional effort and expense we could try to recapture the joys of the past. But we don’t. Usually.
Except yesterday something magnificent happened.
The in-laws have whisked both Young Master Fussy and Little Miss Fussy off to the farm for five glorious nights. This is the longest time we’ve had alone for the better part of a decade. And it feels amazing.
Not that I don’t love the kids. I do. But it’s nice to get a break. As it turned out, the first evening of the five was parents night at the nursery school. My very clever mother suggested that even this event could be a date.
To be honest, I scoffed at the very notion of it. Sorry about that Mom.
But then I thought about it more as the day went on. Dates don’t have to be fancy. They weren’t always a big deal when we were younger. However, there is a thing that happens when dates become fewer and further in between. Expectations rise. And that can suck a lot of the fun out of the event.
We didn’t have a lot of time after picking Mrs. Fussy up from work. So we went to this little Greek place called Anton’s. She had the gyro (without onions). I had a chicken souvlaki with Greek fries. Dinner was quicker than expected, and we had time to take a little walk afterward.
It was one of the more fun dates we’ve had in a while. We even had a great time at Parents Night. There was no dressing up. No pressure to enjoy ourselves. In fact, the act of grabbing a simple bite to eat out, after work and before some other obligation felt like very much a part of the old life I remember from before we were married.
Tomorrow I think we’ve got drinks with some of her colleagues after work, and on Friday there is another cocktail party. I am also looking forward to having date night at home without the kids, and being able to cook something just for the adults that’s too special (or too messy) for the little ones.
Maybe I can finally make that trip to Adventure in Food I’ve been longing to take all summer.
This is so much better than dates. It’s like a time machine. Still, when Friday night family dinner rolls around, we will notice the absence of the children more profoundly. But they will be back soon, and I’m sure we will welcome their return.
After the time away, I’m sure the kids will look older. WIth any luck Mrs. Fussy and I will look younger.