I’ll never forget the looks on my children’s faces when I announced last month that I had been asked to go out on a date—and even better, that I had accepted!  I believe one of my teenagers replied with "Mom, is that really necessary?", but after being out of the dating loop for nearly 23 years—"you bet it is," was my immediate reply!

I left the kitchen before I could be dismayed by anymore of their helpful remarks, after all my date had only called earlier that day and would be arriving in a few short hours (not too desperate was I?) and my number one goal was to make a stunning first impression.

My sixteen-year old daughter kindly mentioned that if I was going to transform myself, I’d better get busy, but I didn’t take it personally.  In just a while, I was going to be picked up and driven to a nice restaurant, one where a waiter would take my order instead of a large microphone box asking me which value meal I’d like.

First order of business was a nice hot bath, so I quickly dashed off to my bathroom.  Over the years and eight kids later, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to outsmart my family so by the time the last one leaves for college I won’t forget what the word privacy means.  Calgon has nothing on me, but upon entering my 8 X 8 retreat, I saw my bathtub filled to the brim, only not with luxurious bubbles, but with every piece of Christmas wrapping paper I had leftover and was trying to organize for next year.  The 20-some rolls of snowmen and reindeer stared me in the face and I knew if I unloaded them and tried to start that project another time, I would pay dearly.  Plan B—a shower (If I shaved my legs it would still qualify as a mini spa treatment).

Once in the shower my mind quickly darted to the interesting conversation I would try to engage in while sitting at a candlelit table for two.  Surely this guy would want to know more about me other than how I make my kid’s brown bag lunches so exciting, but it’s been years since I discussed events other than potty training or how to remain injury free when legos are lying all over bedroom floors.   I prayed that my left and right brain would work well together so I would appear somewhat balanced and intelligent and could participate in dialogue that didn’t necessarily rhyme.

There was so much to think about with this dating thing, I soon began to waiver on whether or not I had made the right decision.  With my mascara wand in one hand and my 3-year old’s empty juice box in the other, I started to have second thoughts.  Who was I kidding, mothers don’t go on dates, they concentrate on their households and families all day long, right?

Luckily time was running out and it was too late to bail. In just moments he would be arriving.  My hair was washed and blown dry, my outfit was pressed and on (without a wonder girdle holding it together thank you very much) and my 6-year old told me I smelled like flowers, so I knew when I walked out to his car I wouldn’t smell like eau de burrito.  I was ready!

The doorbell rang and I was surprised that my heart skipped a beat.  I peeked out the living room window and there he was, standing at the front door, with a sheepish grin on his face, holding a small bouquet of pretty pink tulips.  He didn’t try to come into the house—just waited patiently on the front steps while the dog barked nonstop.

I guess this is a real date, I thought, because if my own husband can’t open the front door and come in to greet our children, he must be taking this "date thing" seriously—even the kids (and dog!) picked up on that.

I kissed them all good night and stepped out the door.  He held the car door open for me and made sure I was actually seated before gently shutting the door—for once, we were moving at a leisurely pace, this was confirmed as we drove away and not one article of my clothing was hanging out the door.  My mind and heart agreed—we liked this idea of dating again!

What a novel idea my husband of 21 year’s had—calling his wife, that would be me, and asking her on a real date.  Sometimes you get so caught up in the daily grind of life you forget that adult time is very necessary and often overlooked.  Not only am I grateful that we escaped for an evening out for two, I’m more grateful that my children saw it unfold—I think they gathered how important it was for the two of us to get out alone so the next time it happens, I doubt they’ll ask "Mom, is it really necessary", but instead, they’ll insist that it is.

Copyright 2009 Cheryl Butler