Life is all about planning. We plan our marriages. We plan when to have kids. We plan on places to live. We plan our education and careers. We plan for life after kids and we plan for retirement.
Me, I’m not a planner. Disaster strikes when I plan. Before I became a novice fisherman, I planned a fishing date quite a few years before my wife and I got married. Apparently there are certain spots and times that are great for catching fish. There are also places that are great for catching trees. I caught zero fish but managed to snag quite a few trees.
A few years ago, (maybe even one of the first dates we went on after our first daughter was born) I planned a date for a Sunday. The only problem was, life shuts down on Sundays. We went downtown to eat dinner and explore the shops. Besides a few restaurants and the Barnes and Noble, downtown becomes a ghost town on Sundays. Thankfully, that wasn’t our very first date and we were all ready married.
My wife and I will be celebrating 7 years of marriage this month. We had the opportunity to celebrate our anniversary a little earlier. A couple of weekends ago our girls went to my wife’s parents’ house while we headed to Minneapolis by ourselves- for an overnight by ourselves. WOO!!!… (wait… what do you do when you don’t have any kids for an entire day/night?)
My wife booked the hotel and I wracked my brain all week trying to find something exciting, something new; something different for us to do. It is not often that we have an overnight to ourselves.
Thinking of being romantic, I found some horse and carriage companies that provide tours of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Unfortunately, those rides were out of my price range. I also found some jazz musicians playing downtown but traffic can get nasty and then it would become just one big head ache.
I thought about taking my wife to watch a live comedy show but I am fairly conservative in my humor (I would rather watch a Red Green Show than any vulgar/obnoxious comedy movie)
There were a few plays that looked promising but didn’t pursue it since their ticket prices made the horse and carriage rides look cheap. There was a concert playing music from Beethoven but that wasn’t even on my radar.
As the week progressed I continued to struggle; I mean this is for our anniversary and we are without our kids. We have to do SOMETHING!
My wife had mentioned something about going to the Mall of America (Yes! Shopping Woo!) and eating dinner at a small place with the best wings around (hmm… maybe I don’t need to plan.) Actually, we don’t shop much but the mall was right next to our hotel and we wanted to look for a few items.
Our hotel that we were staying at (this is the only place we’ve stayed at for our anniversary even with our kids around) has snack food (chips’n’salsa, popcorn, pretzels) and free drinks (coffee, soda, adult beverages, kiddie beverages) from 5:30 until 7. There was no way I was missing out on free snack food. Half-joking I said, “Well, we could just hang out at our hotel.” My wife laughed, I laughed. As our conversations continued throughout the week, staying in our hotel instead of doing something “exciting” seemed more tempting.
Our day of celebrating arrived and I had nothing planned. Part of me hated the fact that I had nothing planned. Another part of me enjoyed our open schedule. Our days are busy: work, school, homework, playtime, reading time, chores, bedtime routines. At the end of the day we’re both exhausted. Sometimes it is just nice to sit down and soak in quietness with my wife cuddled up to me.
My wife and I backed out of her parents’ drive way watching two Itty Bitty’s waving goodbye and blowing us kisses. As I…er…I mean my wife, held back tears (it’s the first time we’ve been away from our 15-month-old overnight), we waved, blew kisses and held up the “I love You” sign.
As we drove to Minneapolis we embraced the rare silence, both of us exhaling deeply. My wife looked at me and said, “Baby…sshhh!!! Listen!” I turned to her and we both said, “AAH! Silence.” At the same time (cute right?).
We went to the Mall of America before checking-in at our hotel. Apparently going to the Mall of America weeks after Christmas also required planning. My wife and I happened to pick the Saturday when the mall hosted a statewide dance competition. I thought I missed the year and Christmas had once again come around. We drove through the parking garages of the mall for 10-15 minutes before we ended up near the top of a garage in the very back.
My wife and I found a restaurant for lunch that didn’t have an hour wait. After lunch we went… shoe shopping. Fun right? I guess that is what I get for not planning. I’m just kidding my wife actually NEEDED some shoes and I thoroughly enjoy trying to pick out shoes for her (can you say leopard print).
The time came for us to check-in at the hotel. Whew!… We checked-in and the first thing on my “planned” to-do list: throw our suitcase on the floor. The second item on my to-do list: make a snow(?) angel on the bed. Seriously, those beds are very comfortable. I was on a fluffy cloud with just enough back support. I didn’t want to move
In my excitement to make snow angels on the bed, I completely missed the chocolate covered strawberries that lay on the table. My wife had actually PLANNED for the strawberries to be delivered to our room right before we arrived (what is that saying, opposites attract? My wife a planner and me um… a work in progress).
My visions of a horse and carriage ride, feasting on the finest delicacies Minneapolis had to offer all while watching the funniest comedy around were replaced by relaxing at our hotel, taking advantage of the snacks, and eating a very late dinner at one of the best places to find wings in Minneapolis.
I wouldn’t have it any other way. At the end of the day, what I enjoyed most is the time my wife and I spent with each other; looking at each other, talking to each other, smiling at each other and laughing together. Simply enjoying each other’s company without noise and without being exhausted.