When is the last time you went on a double date? If you have to wrack your brain a bit to remember, you’re not alone. I was somewhat shocked this past weekend to discover that for me, the last double date had been before my kids were even born. In other words, as a mom whose oldest son is a tween, more than 12 years ago.
What’s prompting this week’s blog post reflection is that some friends simply asked if my husband and I wanted to go out to dinner with them. At first glance, this topic of “double date” seemed banal to me. Not a subject worthy of an entire blog post. But when we did ultimately go out, the event filled me with an outsized amount of joy. And outsized joy is worth writing about and sharing.
A Double Date as a Neighborhood Adventure
The friends who asked if we wanted to go out to dinner live up the street from us. Once we consulted calendars and the scheduling gods aligned, the question became where to go. My husband and I debated: a cool, popular restaurant somewhere in D.C. that we’d never been to before? Or a cozy local neighborhood place? The question I asked myself when my husband and I discussed this was, “how do I want to feel that night?”
Given the state of mind I was in at the time, “calm and leisurely” was the answer. With the exception of the past few days of Canadian forest fire smoke, it’s been a gorgeous spring in Washington, D.C., and walking to a restaurant appealed to me more than taking the metro, an Uber/Lyft, or driving. We’d also have to worry about fewer logistics if we went somewhere familiar. And I love our neighborhood so much, this gathering felt like it belonged here.
The friends who asked us out have two kids around the same age as ours, so we also had to think about child care. To be fair, we’re sitting squarely in the middle of that very strange place right now, between needing and not needing someone to watch our kids when we go out. We aren’t super keen on giving our oldest the authority to boss his little brother around, though, so we opted for getting a sitter.
Initially, each family booked their own babysitter. But then, mere hours from the time we were planning to go out, ours called in sick. After reaching out to a few others on our babysitting bench and coming up short, we reached out to our double date friends and asked if their sitter might be willing to watch our kids as well. Their sitter agreed. And we all decided that should have been the plan from the get-go! Turns out our kids all had a blast together while we were gone.
The Topics of Conversation – Not Just Kids!
Going into this rare – but hopefully soon to be replicated with more frequency – event, I wanted to be sure we didn’t spend the whole night talking about our children. On the walk to and from the restaurant, we did, in fact, catch up on our kiddos. But then, over dinner, we did an excellent job of taking the conversation in other directions.
Given we hadn’t caught up in quite some time, I asked the question: what is the best thing that has happened to you in the past 6 months, that’s unrelated to your children? We meandered through topics related to work successes and strategies, fun travel with friends, and then even into harder topics about our health and generational conflicts. Gosh, it was refreshing to be fully present in a conversation with adults, while putting aside my parent identity for a short while.
Pop the Question!
All it takes to get this double-date train rolling out of the station is for someone to pop the question. Why hadn’t we done this delightful outing since our kids arrived on the scene? I don’t know. Probably simply that we hadn’t thought about it. And, you know, all that life and kid stuff that’s been going on for the past decade.
Now, having experienced the joys of going out with other grown humans whose company I really enjoy, I’m now more motivated to do it again. To talk to my husband about who we’d like to go out with. And to put in the effort to make it happen.
So go ahead. Pop the question! And let me know how it goes, in comments below. My prediction: you’ll find some unexpected joys by the end of the evening.
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