First Anniversary Date Night

‘Mum I need to talk to you about something…I’m having nightmares again. And this time I’m wetting the bed.’

I stared at my teenage daughter as she told me this. She was grinning, which she always does when embarrassed. My thoughts raced and my heart sank at the same time.

Just at that moment, Master M bounded into the bedroom telling me that someone was at the door. I quickly told him to wait a minute. He paused, then repeated his statement politely, waiting for me to act. I told Miss D to stay there and I would be back to finish our conversation shortly. She was in a strange mood, and I immediately felt my anxiety rising.

I was halfway through getting ready to go out for dinner. It was my first wedding anniversary and I still needed to do my make-up. I wondered who would be dropping round at this time, as I wasn’t expecting anyone.

Master M hovered at the door and as I opened it I realised why. In front of me stood Lisa, all dressed up in her ‘Sunday best’ for dinner and holding a beautiful bunch of brightly coloured gerberas.

‘Happy anniversary! I’m here to collect you for our date,’ she said, grinning from ear to ear as she gave me the stunning floral ensemble. The penny dropped as I heard Miss D laughing her head off from down the hallway. She had been entrusted by Lis to provide a ‘distraction’ for me so I wouldn’t see her coming to the door.

‘So you aren’t really wetting the bed then?’

‘NO!’ she squawked and she, Lis and Master M absolutely killed themselves laughing. I was so touched by the thoughtfulness of Lisa’s gesture but it took me a few seconds to recover from the prospect of needing to arrange counselling for a potentially traumatised teen!

Lisa had insisted on organising our evening out and had kept all the details from me. Miss D had been entrusted to watch the little ones, and I assumed that maybe we would be staying fairly locally so we weren’t gone for too long. We had an extremely busy day the following day, our actual anniversary, as we had a hockey carnival for Master M immediately followed by our own game of hockey that night. Funds were limited so I envisaged nipping out for a quiet meal at a local restaurant, followed by an episode or two of a show on Netflix. Simple yet enjoyable.

So you can imagine my surprise when I took my blindfold off (that Lis had insisted I wear in the car), to find myself staring at none other than the dazzling lights of the Costco car park.

I looked over to her and said ‘You have to be joking.’

She laughed at my face and replied, ‘Nope, come on. We need to get that trolley wagon to carry our gear at hockey tomorrow anyway’.

I was a little taken aback, and if I’m honest, a little crestfallen, at being dragged into Costco when all dressed up for Date night. Seriously??? I wasn’t about to let Lisa feel my disappointment though – she looked so happy with herself and amused that I figured it was fine.

Once we were inside, it occurred to me how wonderful it was to be able to look around without having kids in tow. I didn’t want to stay long, but the pleasure of actually having the freedom to browse in a leisurely fashion is not something I experience often. In fact, I normally hate shopping. It’s painful with kids. Expensive, time consuming and depressing when you have little disposable income at your fingertips.

As a pre-cursor to my night out, I came to the conclusion that this was an enjoyable enough adjournment.

One trolley wagon later and we were back on the road to our dinner date, my blindfold secured back across my eyes. Ok phew, off we were going now to the real deal. I was getting hungry so was looking forward to dinner. After about ten minutes, I felt the car slowing down and weaving in and out of back streets, then suddenly felt a familiar bump. No…

The car stopped and Lis said ‘Here we are’. Removing the blindfold, I disembarked from the car. Onto our driveway.

We were back home. The kids were on the deck and Lisa was laughing. As was Miss D.

‘What’s going on?’ I said. The joke was starting to wear a bit thin now.

Master C, the five year old, started howling that he wanted to come down to the shed with us.

‘You can’t mate, it’s just for Mummy and me tonight’. Lis, sensing my confusion, quickly grabbed my hand and lead me down the backyard to the shed we built recently. I could see the multi-coloured jukebox lit up through the window, and what appeared to be candles lighting up the room. When she opened the door, I was completely speechless. The room looked dazzling: it was lit up with fairy lights spread all around, table cloths hung over the side tables and a table laid with silver service style settings for the two of us. A scroll wrapped in ribbon was next to my plate, which Lisa informed me was our three course menu, and a bottle of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc on ice next to my place at the table. The leather lounges were all ours and so was the pool table.

There was a playlist, kids were close by and happy for the most part, plus there was wonderful company, food and drink – what more could you ask for?

She thought of everything – even the random trip to Costco to throw me off the scent.

There is something incredibly humbling about having another person put so much effort into an occasion. Lis didn’t spend a lot of money, which, for me, made it all the more perfect. It’s hard to explain why it was so special without it sounding completely corny, but it was a genuinely fun, indulgent evening where I felt completely loved and appreciated.

Oh and then just as I couldn’t imagine it being any better, she pulled out an eternity ring.

Literally perfect.

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