Last night, Joel and I went on a much-needed though rather short date. He has been sick all week, and my evening lullabies have been putting him down along with our baby, so I am left to my own devices post 8pm. I make do, preparing for the next day, eating chocolate and enjoying a glass of wine while watching a guilty pleasure TV show. But I miss him. And as he’s gotten better, he has procured laryngitis, so even though he’s feeling less like he has the plague, he can’t talk to me! For some women this would be a plus, I’m sure, but our relationship requires a lot of back-and-forth verbal processing, and the sound of his voice is lovely to me.
Friends of ours gave us an amazing present for our birthdays back in April — money for dinner out while they babysit Olive (also known as O-Lo Bunky Girl). So, even though my husband could barely talk, we strapped Olive into the Ergo on our friend’s belly, and shipped them off to the seedy playground near our house, so we could enjoy some adult time.
It took Joel and I quite a while to figure out how to be a couple as well as parents — about 6 months. So, for the past 5 1/2 months we have really been re-birthing our relationship, falling in love all over again, trying to carve out time just the two of us that honors our love and commitment to each other without putting us so far behind on “Olive-time” that we suffer in the long run.
Last night, that meant going only a block away, to Mission Chinese Food, a foodie haven tucked into a greasy-spoon Chinese food spot, unironically adorned with white Christmas lights, velvet paintings of horses running, and vinyl flowers. We waited 45 minutes for a table, since the restaurant recently received a write-up in the New York Times, turning a local favorite of mine into a food-tourist hot spot. When I was pregnant, I used to waddle in there on a weekly basis, have long chats with the chef about the menu and our neighborhood, and eat vast quantities of salty goodness. But now, we waited outside with the other schmos, and shared a folding table with another couple when we were finally seated. It was heaven — delicious food, and the only company I truly craved — that of my husband, who I could barely hear over the people next to me. We laughed on the way home about how someone from the suburbs who expected a square meal with all the comforts of “eating out” would have hated that whole experience, but how it was exactly what we wanted.
Joel and I still have a lot to figure out — for one, Olive is still in our bedroom, since our one-bedroom is so tiny that there really is no other place for her crib. Our conversations toward “homeownership” in San Francisco consist of our complaining about how it’s easy to steal a car or a bike but it’s nearly impossible to steal a home. There’s one on 24th and San Carlos that I have my eye on, though — look out folks with the awesome pink, purple & turquoise paint job — you might come home to some awesome squatters sometime soon. But in general, we are doing pretty well, going on dates at the very least once a month. It’s one of the perks to having kids before all your friends — lots of free, enthusiastic babysitters. So, there’s a long way to go, but we’ve got our lifetimes to figure it out… together.