Last night was DATE NIGHT! I enthusiastically use all caps to show my excitement. You see, since the birth of our premature daughter, we haven’t been out much on our own. In fact, last night was the first time since bringing her home from the hospital that both of us were separated from her at the same time. Cue the inevitable separation anxiety.
Before dropping baby off with her aunt, uncle, and teenage cousins, we got everything ready — snacks, bottle, favorite toys, security blanket. Everything that would make our little girl’s brief stay away from home comfortable.
We arrived and debriefed the sitters on baby’s usual habits. We told them where we would be and how long we would be away. Assurances were given that all would be well. But, as the get-ready-to-leave distraction was in the making, someone became fitful.
Only it wasn’t the baby.
Daddy didn’t want to go.
After more assurances were given that everything would be okay, we were finally out the door. Then, barely two minutes on the road, he called to check on his little girl. She wasn’t crying, and he was crushed.
I think he would have preferred her to be screaming inconsolably. It would have given him an excuse to turn the car around and rush right back to her. The fact that she was perfectly fine away from us meant that she didn’t need us, at least not for the time being. This didn’t sit well with a father who has watched his child fight to learn to breathe on her own.
The discussion in the car centered around the topic of leaving baby in the care of others. It became a bit heated. I, who left my first child with my mother at the tender age of 3 weeks so that her father and I could go see a movie, have no problem letting someone else take charge for the night. He, who is a first-time father past the age of 40 and can’t stand to leave his little miracle for work each day, sees no need to go anywhere without her.
You can see why it has taken 18 months to get us to the point where we are arguing on a date.
As we arrived at the theater, we agreed to set our differences aside for the evening to enjoy our movie. We laughed at the other’s appearance in less-than-flattering 3D glasses. We made sarcastic remarks about the inanity of such upcoming films as Cowboys and Aliens and Happy Feet Two. We held hands as we enjoyed our first movie together in the theater since before I got pregnant.
It was so nice to be away from reality for a couple of hours. But alas, it was not to last. The instant the credits began rolling, I heard a familiar voice say, “Can we go now?”
It was then time to fumble with the phone (which had shut itself off at some point despite having been fully charged when we left). Panic nearly ensued when the phone refused to cooperate. It finally did, and Daddy learned that his baby girl had not fussed once all evening.
The same, of course, cannot be said of him.
I certainly was not expecting the separation anxiety to come from him. He’s a grown man. A rational being. He understands that the separation is not permanent.
Still, I think I’ll let him recover a while before previewing the sequel to date night.