A couple weeks before Christmas Tim gave me a card that had a printout of a reservation to the fancy hotel in town. It was part of his Christmas gift to me. Tim had arranged for his parents to keep the kids overnight and he and I were going to get away and play pretend at the fancy hotel.
But we ran out of money because well, Christmas.
So last Saturday night, we dropped the kids off at their grandparents for a sleepover and had no idea what we were going to do. When you have a kids-sleep-over-at-the-grandparents-house-night-out once a year, it's a pretty big deal. We didn't want to spend it running errands or organizing the basement. We didn't want to sit around and discuss calendar plans for how we were going to get this kid to practice and that kid to a game. We didn't want to talk about budgets and bills. We didn't want to try and figure out how we are going to do life.
We had dinner at a burger joint and then went to a fancy bar for drinks. We sat at the bar. Tim ordered a Coke because he doesn't drink and I ordered "your cheapest red wine."
We sat in the crowded bar and didn't talk about how we were going to do life. Instead we created stories for people that were sitting around us. A man holding a flower box, twisting his ring nervously, ordering drink after drink, looking around the room for someone, but who? Maybe a younger woman. Maybe he was going to propose. Would she show up? Or stand him up? Would he be too drunk to propose? We never did see what happened to him, but we had a great time playing pretend.
Because here's the thing, Tim and I don't know exactly how we are going to do life. Four kids who will soon be four teenagers and then ahhh, college. Money worries, calendar screw-ups, miscommunication, forgetting that we can talk about more than the kids, being tired all the time...it isn't easy for two pretenders/dreamers.
Sitting at the bar, looking at Tim and laughing at our stories we were making up, it reminded me of two much younger people sitting at a bar making up stories. Stories about a life they dreamed of--getting married someday, having kids and maybe a dog and coaching little league and playing family football games in the backyard. Tim and I met when we were 23 and 22 and we had no idea how we were going to do the life we dreamt of, but we were confident, lovesick pretenders/dreamers who just fumbled and bumbled our way to the life we wanted.
All those years ago, the younger versions of us went from bar to bar doing shots and maybe one of us danced on a table. This past Saturday, we left after a couple drinks, stopped to buy Fudge Rounds (my all-time favorite and totally unhealthy Little Debbie snack cake) and a lottery ticket (the required, seemingly legit back-up plan for all pretenders/dreamers) and danced in our kitchen. And then got caught up on Scandal.
Life is a little more full of stress and worries and vulnerabilities and responsibilities than when we were under 25. But my god it is full of everything we ever wanted and more. After all these years, we are still laughing, still dreaming, still pretending and telling stories and still dancing. Um, we kind of already won the lottery of good fortune and love and backyard family football games, and for that I am beyond grateful.
Damn, kids-sleep-over-at-the-grandparents-house-nights-out are important. I'm feeling all grateful and in love and ready for all the fumbling and bumbling our way to the next dream, the next part of our story. And all the kitchen dancing.