By Leah Martorana
Before my husband and I had a baby, people would always tell us, “Once you have kids, everything changes. You better enjoy things now.” It was spoken like some kind of cryptic warning we wouldn’t understand until the kid came and changed everything.
In the weeks after our son was born we began to clue in to the “everything changes” thing on our first attempts at date night.
Our first night out was to a new restaurant near our house that we had been eyeing for weeks. We were hopeful it would become a new “go-to” when we wanted something close by. On the big night out, the babysitter fell through and here we were with our new bundle of joy. “Oh well,” I thought. “Date night can still work with the little man in tow.” So our new little family headed out on the town.
When we arrived at the restaurant, the menu was promising and we made our first selection of an appetizer. I could tell where the night was headed when our selection reached the table and we practically needed a magnifying glass to locate the tiny morsels of food on the plate. There were a total of 4 olives on the plate and I believe they cost us nearly $3 a piece! That should have been our first clue but we stayed for the main course. Needless to say, one tragedy led to the next and before our meal was even started, the baby had a major blow out. Once that was under control and my appetite was all but gone, our baby decided he wasn’t happy. He proceeded to wail the kind of wail that causes everyone in the room to fix their eyes on you. They seem to say, “Why can’t these people get their baby under control?” We decided we weren’t quite ready to handle the public humiliation so we asked the waitress to box our teeny tiny pizza and we got out of there. As if that wasn’t enough, I finished off the night by accidentally dropping our leftovers on the garage floor as we arrived home. Nice.
Our second attempt at date night was not much of an improvement. This time around we were a bit smarter and decided we would go somewhere where we couldn’t possibly disturb others. We opted for the drive-in theatre with the rationale being, even if baby cried, no one else would hear. We were right about that part but we weren’t prepared for all of the other things that might go wrong. For example, I sent my husband off to get some drinks right when the movie started. I took on the task of getting our little SUV-theatre all set up. Problem was we had a “new to us” SUV that did not come with a manual. That meant I had no idea how to turn off the overhead lights inside. The other movie-goers were a little angry about that. Our romantic movie turned a bit stressful to the tune of honking horns and angry shouts. Then there was the fact that I forgot the bottle on the kitchen counter, so I did my best to feed baby discreetly in the back of the car with a fleece blanket on top of me in 90 degree weather.
Our most successful date so far was on our anniversary. I was driving back that day from seeing family in South Carolina. With our now 4-month-old along for the ride, it made for a lengthy trip with many pit stops. The original plan was for me to make it back in time to go out for dinner, but as I got further and further delayed by the baby stops, our dinner plans went down the drain. By the time I made it home it was 11 p.m. Despite my frustrating day, my sweet hubby had the house cleaned from top to bottom and dessert ready and waiting. It was one of our best anniversaries yet and I’m sure I’ll remember it for years to come.
The thing is, those people that warned us about everything changing only had it half right. Everything has changed but that doesn’t mean we’ve stopped enjoying it. Sure, date nights are a bit more challenging now. But they are also sweeter, more humorous and more appreciated than ever before.
Leah Martorana has been married to her husband, Mark, for 4 years and is enjoying her new role as mommy to 5 month old, Maxwell. She is the co-leader of Beautiful Moms at Grace Family Church. Leah also does part-time HR work and in her spare time at home she enjoys anything creative, from cooking to crafting.