What do you do when the neighbor kidnaps your children for the evening at dinnertime? Well, my original plan involved lots of bubbles, books, and a lovely blueberry wine I had been saving. Just as I was gearing up for a night in the tub, I hear “we have these gift cards….” and the rest is history.

It’s been a long time (nearly a year and before that over a year) since my husband and I could have an actual date. When you’re just this side of broke, with kids, and school, and work, and life sometimes little things like spending time with your spouse take a back seat to everything else. This is not good for a relationship, it’s not good for the person, and really if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody in the house happy. We’re still dealing with the post-holiday bills that came on top of two-weeks out-of-town, out-of-pocket so finances were really, really tight. Still, we had those gift cards…

I looked at the menu online while the hubbs took the bottles back. (Yes, the bottles had to go back so we could have a date. It could have been worse, we could have had no bottles.) Then I looked at the movie schedules and we decided on a time (that really would have been better if we were younger with no small children) and off we went. We looked at the bottle cash and decided that we could totally splurge on the Imax presentation of Avatar at a mere $4 more per ticket. Then I found the gift card I had stashed for gas for the week and we had snack cash too!

The evening began at the Outback where we enjoyed quiet conversation and an entire meal served at the right temperature with no little fingers in it. Then hubbs bought the movie tickets (still 2 hours away) and we hit up the local 24-hour store for some exercise (chasing each other with shopping carts is good exercise, just don’t get caught). We somehow managed to not get thrown out of the store and headed to the theater. We stood in the ridiculously long line (did I mention it was a 10:45PM show, on a Sunday) for popcorn and drinks, grabbed the nifty 3-D glasses and found seats. Somehow we managed to cram ourselves into the chairs without injuring anybody (we have a little extra padding) and settled in to enjoy a movie without the constant interruptions that come with movie-watching with small children.Somehow we even managed to avoid shocking the frat boys behind us and kept our hands mostly to ourselves.

The dinner was nice, the movie was great, the ability to get out and interact without three small children was priceless. We did have to crawl into bed when we stumbled through the door at 2am. Still, sometimes you just have to let it all go and get away with your partner. It doesn’t have to be for a full night, or even for dinner. Take a walk, go to the park, visit the place of your first date (located in the same mall as the movies for us), pack a picnic and go. The focus is on spending quality time with your partner, without the distractions that are common at home (like the internet and children).  I know that if we had waiting for a “good time”, the gifts would have gone to waste. Sometimes there is no perfect time, there’s just right now. Sometimes right now is the perfect time.