Yesterday I drove Adam to Frankfort, KY, to meet my mother half-way to my parents' house in Lexington. She's taking Adam for the weekend, making this the first time in his life he's been separated from his parents overnight. So far I don't miss him quite as much as I thought I would, but that's probably because Sami and I have packed so many things that we've been meaning to do into such a small space of time that we - or at least I - haven't had time to notice he's not here.
On the Interstate on the way to Frankfort I say a bumper sticker that just has to be relayed:
If my smoking bothers you,
I can't decide if this is a really shallow and callous smoker accurately representing their own reprehensible position (and I've seen more than a few smokers who represented this position boldly!) or if this is some anti-smoking satire.
After I got home from handing my son to his grandmother, a woman who, free from the tyranny of her son and his wife, is certain to be spoiling my little boy as I type this, I took Sami out on one of our first real dates in his lifetime.
Dating as a parent is tricky, complicated. You already have less money and time to play around with, because children take up so much of both. On top of that, dates get more costly because you have to either
a.) take this kid with you, making it much less of a date, anyone, since your primary concern is with the happiness and well being of your child rather than on listening to and spending time with your spouse - and forget any romance, or
b.) find childcare, which usually uses up either favors, money, or both.
Using the traditional date formula of dinner, a movie, and then if you're lucky a little bit of dessert or a drink after the movie, my wife and I, until last night, had never managed to have a complete date during our son's life. For her birthday we did manage to squeeze in lunch and a movie, but nothing after the movie. That date also had these two conditions on it:
1. We were in Lexington, staying with my family, so that they could watch Adam while we went out. It was part of their birthday present to Sami, but it meant that our date felt somewhat chaperoned, as we had a cell phone on us at all times waiting (fortunately in vain) for some crisis to arise. Also, of course, we weren't in our town. Lexington, to put it mildly, ain't Louisville.
2. Lunch, even at the glorious Joseph-Beth cafe, isn't dinner. A lunch date feels rushed. It just doesn't have the time to play out like a dinner date.
But last night we got to actually go out on a date, a real DATE! (Not that I'm happy about that or anything...) We stared the evening at Zen Garden, my all time favorite restaurant. I first went to Zen Garden to write a review of it for a college writing class. I may have to post that review here sometime. It was even better than usual, with improved presentation, and, even more importantly for my wife, with the cilantro on the side of the plate instead of mixed into the food. Cilantro always gives her trouble, but she never remembers to tell them that when she's ordering. This time, it seems, they read her mind, so she didn't have to meticulously pick it out of her food.
After our lovely dinner we went to Baxter Ave Theaters, locally owned and operated, and specializing in the sorts of movies that major chains don't bother to carry. We saw Thank You For Smoking, quite possibly the funniest movie I've seen in the theater since Gross Pointe Blank. And like Gross Pointe Blank, this movie is a dead pan satire looking at ethical conflicts. I won't say anything more about it, except to reiterate that it was insanely funny, and totally unforced. Unlike many recent comedies, this one didn't go out of its way to tell you that it was trying to be funny. It was simply funny.
We then went to Heine Brothers Coffee, a strange choice since neither of us drink coffee. But we had a great time staying up late pretending to be adults (parents often, as best as I can tell, feel more like children. At least I do. After all, I spend all day every day with only a fifteen-month-old to keep me company. At a certain point I sink to his level because God knows he can't rise to mine yet. But I digress...) drinking our hot chocolate (what we un-cool non-coffee-drinkers get at coffee shops) and picking at a pretty good macademia nut torte. Pretty good my ass! It was awesome. Adam doesn't get to eat nuts yet, so it was the sort of thing we could never eat around him, once again creating the illusion that we were real adults instead of just some semi-adult sub-species, the parents of a young child.
We talked about how, since Adam wasn't home to need to go to bed early and wake up with the sun, we could stay out all night and then sleep in in the morning. But, as usual, we were all talk. By ten o'clock we were at home, falling over each other to see if we could make it to bed before we fell asleep. And, sure enough, by 7 am, no child to act as the alarm clock that I haven't needed since his birth, I was laying awake in bed, reading Jews and Christians: A Troubled Family by Walter Harrelson (a former religion professor at Vandy, and a Christian) and Randall M. Falk (an esteemed Rabbi from Tennessee), waiting for my wife to wake up so that I could get out of bed and start my day.
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