Date Night

Date night?  What’s that?  It’s usually a rare occasion that I get enough time to get ready for a night out with the hubby.  Normally, our romantic evenings consist of flopping on the couch at the end of the night exhausted and barely able to stay awake through whatever reality show competition is on that night.  To keep things interesting, every few months I make an effort to ditch my jeans and ratty T-shirt and shower (and if I’m really bringing sexy back I’ll shave my legs too!), to go on a date night.  My marriage is very important and even though we can’t spend tons of time just the 2 of us, it’s important to have these little dates together to reconnect with each other.

As everyone is well aware, being the parents of a child with special needs is challenging when child care is involved.  I can’t call the local neighborhood teenager to come and sit with them while Dad and I go out to dinner.  My son’s needs are far too complex for that.  Along with having autism and being nonverbal, my son has type 1 diabetes, seizure disorder and Hashimoto’s disease.  For this reason, there are only 2 or 3 family members that I would actually trust enough to watch my son.  They have to know how to use a glucometer, inject insulin, and how to use emergency medication if my son has a seizure or a low blood sugar.  They have to know what foods he’s allowed to have and what he can’t have.  Is it any wonder we don’t have many family members chomping at the bit to watch the kids?

It’s a lot of work and that’s why we don’t go out very often.  I feel guilty about leaving sometimes too.  Who better to take care of my son’s needs than his Mom?  Because he’s nonverbal, you have to know what bothers him and what doesn’t, something as simple as putting his cup in the wrong spot may trigger a meltdown.  Whenever we do plan to go out we make things easier by going out after my son’s 5 p.m. insulin injection after his GF dinner and then get home before he’s due for his evening seizure medicine dose.  With all this juggling it’s no wonder that I’m usually exhausted before we even step foot out the door.

Date Night this time is movie night.  I really wanted to go see The Hunger Games and since it was my turn to pick (it really was hubby’s turn but he forgot that I dragged him to see Breaking Dawn for the last movie night), off we went and headed out for Date Night.  The theater is about a 10-minute car ride away so we’re close by should there be any emergency that we have to rush home for.  I usually call home once we get to the theater and let them know what theater we’re in just in case I can’t get cell reception in the theater and the ushers would know where to find us.  Neurotic I know, but I like to have all my bases covered just in case.  The whole time during the movie, I sit with cell phone in hand, set to ring and vibrate, so if there’s an emergency, I’ll be ready.

With one hand on the cell phone and one hand in the popcorn bucket (diet be damned today!) the movie starts.  I love the movies.  It’s a 2-hour escape into a different reality. Since I was very young, books were my escape.  I would get lost in the characters and stories.  When my husband and I were dating as teenagers, we would spend entire Saturdays hopping from one movie to the next, enjoying each other’s company more than anything else.  Now 20 years later, these little moments we have together remind me of why I fell in love all those years ago.  Plus the fact that he sits through chick flicks with me definitely seals the deal!

As we head up the driveway back home, back to the chaos that awaits, back to the endless blood glucose testing, insulin injections, timed supplements, sleepless nights, back to seizures and back to autism, it makes me think how important it is to cherish these little moments that we have together and not to take each other or our relationship for granted.  Our life is difficult without question, as it is for so many families caring for someone who is medically, physically or behaviorally challenged.  That’s why these Date Nights that we have together are so important.  It’s an opportunity for us to connect and strengthen our foundation as husband and wife and give our family a stronger foundation.  Being Warrior Moms and Dads is exhausting and being frazzled comes with the territory, but even Warriors need a little break sometimes.

~ Savage

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8 Responses to Date Night

  1. Happy Date Night. Glad you got out. Hopefully you’ll get out again before they make Catching Fire!

  2. jackie sebell says:

    date night? *pulls out the dictionary* 🙂

  3. Happy says:

    Yes! a good reminder… 🙂

  4. Cat Jameson says:

    This is a wonderful reminder for a couple to find some time away and alone. Hubby and I rarely get to go out either, but we got out to a matinee a few weekends ago. The movie was his choice–we saw was a shoot ’em up flick. I didn’t mind though. I got to hold my husband’s hand and be still with him while enjoying an outing just like we used to when we were dating. Thanks for this post, Savage. It was great!

  5. B.K. says:

    We are overdue for a date night here. This is a good reminder. We have to do the same things here. We don’t have the diabetes but we have the life threatening food allergy, and instead of insulin we have epipens. We have only one person we trust to take care of our son, my husband’s sister. And we do the same thing: movie theater in our neighborhood, and calls home as soon as we arrive, and as soon as we are out. I’m ready for a date night. Great post! This is so important! xoxo

  6. Gina says:

    I totally agree with Savage! First off, it IS hard to find the energy to keep your marriage a priority. My little one has a seizure disorder as well, and I know what it’s like to keep your cell phone in your hand at all times. We try to spend all of Saturday together because we do have a gifted caregiver who we hired and adores our little girl. And we usually spend one night during the week going out to dinner. I make it a priority to NOT talk about autism, seizures, mito, or anything pertaining to illness. It’s so hard because it’s ALL I want to talk about, but I bite my tongue and talk about his job, our families, current events etc. After all, that’s why I have all of you, right?? And for a few hours, a couple times a week, we remember who we were and why we liked each other so much before our life changed. I’m thankful to have a strong partner to help me even though we don’t always agree.

  7. Savage TMR says:

    Sounds like your husband is a keeper! Having a husband who travels has to be especially difficult. My husband worked second and third shift a lot when the kids were little. My son was 3 when he was diagnosed and I had a newborn baby at the same time. I wonder how we got through it sometimes. I’m so blessed to have this online community and talk to people who really get it.

  8. Jan Houston says:

    The only good advice I ever received from a developmental pediatrician:
    “Do you know what the divorce rate is in families with special needs children? 80 percent. Take care of your marriage first, your kids second.”
    I guess we have taken it to heart. My husband travels extensively for work. He was very seldom home during the week when KJ was at his worst. My husband would come home and let me sleep on the weekends. Looking back, I see how important that one little act of kindness on his part was.
    Now, my husband is only home once a month. It has been this way for about 6 months, and we hope it will end soon. We still have “date nights”, only they are skyped at dinner with the kids, and long after the kids go to bed.
    My husband has been my rock. When I was completely isolated, he kept me sane. I looked forward to our nightly conversations, which were all too often the only adult contact I would have during the day. I know it is not “politically correct” to put so much stock in my husband, but I do. He has survived this with me. While not always physically there, he was there emotionally for me. He always listened. He always told me when I was about to loose it and needed a break. He always encouraged me to take time for myself. Even if it was only a nice, long bath. He was, and is, available whenever I call.
    That’s the secret, isn’t it? Putting our marriages first. It isn’t always feasible to drop whatever we are doing and listen to each other, but we must make time to do so. Our children’s futures depend on it.

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