Thanks to a delightful friend of mine (with a great blog of her own , or two), I have come to appreciate the value of not only acknowledging but taking pride in the rituals that my husband and I develop. Noting how they change, interchange, and what it can tell us about where we are at in our lives.
I grew up in a household that, like most, rarely celebrated without food. Food and/or drink is a universal convention of celebration. Thus, it only seems reasonable that, at the end of a long week, Cam and I would celebrate with a nice meal. And we do. Friday night has become our night. We spend it doing something together. I’d like to say that we do wild, exciting things but usually it’s just a hangout session.
As of late, our Friday nights have been at the end of grueling weeks, often weeks that have included some travel for me and the last thing either of us want to do is go out in public. So a new ritual has recently come to life. We call it “DIY date night.” DIY stands for “Do it yourself” and we do. We make dinner together and then enjoy it, one another’s company and the pleasure of some quality TV on DVD or hulu.com.
It’s simple, sweet and it gives us a chance to reconnect, do something simple together and hit the pause button on life for a little bit. What makes it different from just eating dinner together every other night? We do something out of the ordinary. A few weeks ago we made our own pizza and went to the grocery store together to pick out ingredients (I raided the olive bar!), made our pizza together and had a dinner in bed. We laid a towel across the comforter and set the laptop on hulu. It was absurd and glorious.
The point, I think, of DIY date night is to make the evening about doing something together, not about doing a particular thing. We could go out to eat every Friday night and it would be great, but there is something qualitatively different about planning a meal together, making it together and enjoying it together. Anyone can sit at a restaurant and shell out cash for a nice meal, but to treat that meal like an event in which both are invested is a different experience. Relationships are work so in a poetic way, it makes sense that the spoils of a relationship should require some work as well.
This evening, Cam picked me up from work and we went to a large beer/wine/spirits emporium for a jointly selected 6-pack of a fun brew to have with our meal. We tried a new shop for the first time and they not only had a magnificent selection of everything one could imagine, they had a pick-your-own-six-pack option. Cam and I had so much fun just looking at all of the interesting local and regional brews and assembling our beverage selection for the evening.
Once chilled, we cracked our first brews. I had an ale brewed with pecan (left) that was good but not entirely memorable. Cam had his favorite falltime brew, a pumpkin ale (right). It was pretty amazing.
In the spirit of our unprocessed October pledge, we decided to do a low-processed food taco night. Sauteed peppers and onions from our garden and CSA, black beans (not from the can!), zucchini and tomatoes, avocado, and cumin-lime bulgur. Everything turned it out really well.
Now, we are on your second beer, dogs are snuggled about, and we are just relaxing in front of some DVDs of “The Big Bang Theory.” The hassles, stress and challenges of the week seem to have melted away. For the cost of two avocados and a six pack of fancy beer my husband and I get to reconnect, nourish ourselves and unwind.
It’s unlikely that we will be able to have regular Friday nights like this but we certainly savor the opportunities when we have them.