We went on a date friday night, leaving six kids in the care of . . . themselves.
Having older kids certainly comes with some perks. No more calls to a babysitter that include phrases like, "Hmmmm, how many of them?" or "That depends on which ones." These internal babysitters are significantly cheaper (free), they always do the dishes, and once in a while they even put themselves to bed before midnight. Excellent deal, all around.
So friday night we got out some food for the baby, started a couple of movies on various levels of the house, and headed up the hill. Six minutes and we were passing the reservoir; thirteen minutes and we were parking at the foot of half a dozen state park trails.
My husband and his mountain bike headed up one trail, and my camera and I headed up another.
I realize that spending the evening in different canyons might seem to negate the idea of "date night," but not so my friends. In the best sense of the term, date night for us is a regrouping and a release, an opening up of space to breath. Sometimes date night is spent on the couch reading separate books and sometimes we climb a hill and talk together for hours. Once in a while dinner is involved, more often a little dessert.
And sometimes we head up separate canyons. To each week its own date necessities.
That night we needed mutual solitude and slightly different motion. He needed to re-ride the course from the race he had flatted in on tuesday; I needed to take pictures that didn't involve wrestling the baby for the camera.
Come to find out, it's just a whole lot easier to take pictures with two hands I control, as opposed to a whole bunch I do not. An hour of slow walking, distressed orange light on the hillside, a few handfuls of crumpled blue spruce needles infusing the air with sap-smell. By the time we both got back to the car the sun had dropped behind the western slope and the deer were grazing the roadside scrub. We dropped the windows and turned on some music and let the car crawl slowly homeward, just like we used to in high school. Just like a good date night should end.