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Home » 9to5to9

Date night, the grocery store and ghosts

Submitted by on Monday, 22 December 2008 One Comment
Everything was set.

A baby-sitter had agreed to take on the savage beasts, there were enough snacks to last until at least 8 and I set up the popcorn popper in case they ran out. The popper also doubles as great entertainment for the guys, so bonus points there for battling off boredom.

We'd explained the concept of "date" to Big Guy. It's when Mommy and Daddy go, all by themselves, to a place that doesn't serve toys with dinner. I couldn't blame him for his confusion. He was 2 and Boots just a babe the last time we went on a "date". An uncle babysat them then, showing Big Guy important things such as ranch dip and "The Big Garage."

Once he grasped "date," Big Guy was eager for us to leave. I think it had something to do with the fact that he knew he'd have free reign of the fridge after those meddlesome parents departed. A few minutes spent prying Boots off my shins, and Dad and I were off.

The evening didn't turn out exactly the way we thought. Grocery shopping at 10 p.m. had not been part of the agenda. Neither was a trip down memory lane or staring at the uncertain map of the future. But that's the way our life together always has been. Make plans then adjust on the fly.

We started at a Mexican restaurant now off limits due to Big Guy's garlic allergy and had picked a movie for afterward.

As we pulled into the parking lot, we remembered running to the convenience story next door to get Ritz for baby Big Guy -- he dipped crackers in salsa back then. At the booth where we sat there were ghosts of the excessive tip we left when toddler Big Guy shoveled as much rice onto the floor as he did into his mouth. Tables through out were dotted with babies in carriers we'd rocked in hopes of hushing them long enough for us to eat.

I ordered cheese enchilada, and Dad said the same thing he's been saying for nine years. "Are you sure you don't want meat with that?" I also ordered a margarita, which meant I was teetering toward dreamy-dozy by the time we were ready to head for the theater.

"Are you sure about the movie? I don't think I can stay awake. How about Starbucks?" Dad asked.

"Dang, we have turned into a couple of boring old farts. I might as well have brought the grocery list. It's safer to go with you. You ask for fewer snacks."

"You want to go get it?"

"Only if you go in. They'll never let me back out the door."

So there we were, a couple of 40-year-olds with a chance for a Saturday night out on the town, headed toward the grocery store.

A year ago, there had been no chance of that happening. We'd hit turbulence so rough that I filed for divorce in the spring. Dad talked about moving  -- Los Angeles, Las Vegas, anywhere where he could enjoy his new-found freedom from nagging.

Then I was out of work, and it hit him harder then me in a lot of ways.  The financial rock of the family had crumbled.

He went out the following Monday and did something completely crazy, taking a job far away. I'd fought it for years, because the work involves him leaving his babies for long stretches of time. "We don't need to money that badly," I'd say.

That had changed. And without saying a word to me -- we were legally separated, so he had no real reason to -- he did what his parents and I had long opposed. Because he knew needed to do it for his boys.

We reconciled on Halloween. There's a synchronicity there -- our first date was on Halloween.

The ghosts continued to flutter during the grocery-store portion of the weekend date.

"Sheesh, remember how much formula used to cost? And I don't even want to think about the diapers," he said.

"Oh, there's the prunes. Remember when they used to eat those every morning for breakfast, with biscuits? They both deny ever liking them now," I added a few aisles later.

"I'm going to miss breakfast. Scraping Cheerios off the floor and table."

He's going soon. He's excited about the job -- seems he's found his professional purpose just as I'm losing mine -- but missing his guys already. "Do more of those videos. At least I'll get to hear them."

I have no idea where he or we will be a year from now, but that's always the way it's been with us. Make plans then adjust on the fly.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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One Comment »

  • MtnMom said:

    I have to admit, this one left me a bit choked up. Wow, to go through all that and end up reconciled. I am glad for all of you because, in these difficult times, don’t we really need each other more than we ever dreamed? Not that marriage is peaches and cream, but, when you work at it long enough somehow you end up churning butter from that cream and everything is richer in the long haul.

    The job far away, we relate to that, too. Not ideal but beats living with relatives…agree?!?!

    Date night…need to reinstitute that around here. Our last one ended up in the grocery store as well, buying milk and bread. We too cracked up at how times had changed. Years earlier the last thing on our minds after a date was groceries!

    Blessings, and thanks for the ghost story!