Last Valentines Day Cheryl took me to dinner at my favorite restaurant; the Spaghetti Warehouse.
Just me. No kids, even though they both love the place too. No, this was just the two of us, celebrating Valentine's Day a day early because she had the night off and the 14th was a school night anyway. So we each grabbed our magazines and stuff, got into the van, and headed out to eat.
When we got there, we asked to be seated in the "trolley car." We like sitting in the trolley, and it also has much better light to work by. So we sat there reading our separate magazines and circling coupons while we waited for our dinner to arrive.
When our waitress came by with the mozzarella sticks, I turned to her and said, "This may not look romantic, but after 25 years, we get to just sit and read together."
The woman at the table behind us agreed.
No, it's not that we're so bored with each other that we bury ourselves into our reading when we go out. Quite the contrary, we enjoy sitting and reading together. After 25 years we don't have to stare into each other's eyes all the time anymore; and just to be somewhere anywhere, without the kids once in a while is a wonderful thing.
Many years ago, around 1980, Suzanne Britt Jordan wrote a piece for Newsweek that I wish I could find again, about how the ideal of marriage is not necessarily to always be like new young lovers, but instead, to eventually end up like old friends. She complained that those who divorced after many years because "the thrill was gone" had simply missed the point. A bonfire is great and exciting, but it doesn't keep you warm for as long as the slowly burning fire.
Hey, we might not have looked all that romantic that night, sitting there at the Spaghetti Warehouse, reading our separate magazines, and circling coupons while we waited for our dinner. But after 25 years we don't have to stare into each other's eyes all the time anymore, and just to be able to be somewhere, ANYWHERE, without the kids once and a while is a wonderful thing.
Happy Valentine's Day to all!