We had our first kiss at a bar…
I was widowed and he divorced … we’d met up a few times for drinks, had a flurry of emails and this was to be just another of our “discovery” dates. There we were…at a bar in Manhattan. We were way beyond our years to be kissing at a bar, like a couple of 20-somethings, but it was so spontaneous that neither of us seemed to have time to reflect…
My husband, of eight and a half years, is still a bit of a romantic… I didn’t know that would be sustainable. I didn’t know a lot of things about him when I married him. But, I took a chance on love.
So that’s why, this time, at that same bar, 11 years since that first kiss…I decided to ask him a question that gave him an ear to ear grin. It led to a fantastic Date Night following a fantastic Date Day.
This is how the Date Day morphed into the Date Night…
On Saturday he surprised me with theatre tickets to a Broadway show. I was totally thrilled that he had initiated the plan and didn’t dare remind him that we had already seen it in “previews” 6 months ago. But of course, on our way to the theatre, I couldn’t resist reminding him we hadn’t loved it. In all fairness we had slept through a lot of it because we’d been exhausted so, in truth, we hadn’t really seen it).
Forever the positivist he told me the reviews were way better since it moved to Broadway and it would be great.
He was right. We saw Dear Evan Hansen and, if you follow Broadway shows, it has gotten rave reviews and stimulated important conversations about isolation, depression in the age of social media…feeling disconnected and the real fear that comes with being a High School student and might I add …. a Parent. In addition, it’s a musical with a fantastic score and an incredible cast. (Turns out this time we LOVED it).
We had plenty to talk about as we walked through the snowy streets of Manhattan over to 5th Avenue to window shop. It was a gorgeous winter’s eve, not too cold and very unhurried. We talked about the play, and talked about the challenges of parenting. We talked about our blended lives…we talked about so much that I had never thought possible 11 years ago.
As we walked, we came upon the Peninsula Hotel.
He paused at the front entrance and said, “We haven’t been back there since our first kiss, why don’t we check out that rooftop bar.”
I smiled just thinking about that evening so long ago.
As we entered the bar, it was surprisingly empty for a Saturday evening at 6 pm. Despite the snow, it was a warm 40 degrees and most of the guests were sitting outside on the roof deck looking out over the city huddled under heat lamps.
But not us, we decided to find our seats – the very same seats from 11 years prior, inside, at the stuffy bar – but no matter, it felt just right.
Bill ordered a Manhattan and I had a glass of St. Emilion. The 2 blonds next to us must have been into their 3rd or 4th cocktail as they raucously recounted their escapades with some men.
We easily tuned them out and relaxed into our own bubble.
And then I asked Bill a question, the question in and of itself, put a huge smile on his face and kept us engaged deep into the night.
“When you first met me 11 years ago, what POSITIVE things didn’t you know then, that you’ve come to learn about me over time and, have pleasantly surprised you?”
I was delighted by his reaction as I could see that I’d struck a vein of gold. I looked deep into his eyes…they twinkled as he reflected. I sat back awaiting my gifts.
And that’s just what I got … 12, not 10, but 12 beautiful gifts of appreciation, gratitude, and stories. There was NO room for criticism or negativity, no room for mild disappointments – NONE! Just loving thoughts, loving words, kindness and connection.
And then it was my turn. And it was as much fun to give as to receive.
There was nothing cloying or annoying in this process. We had real conversations about each accolade. Stories surrounded the delivery with each acknowledgment.
Well apparently there’s nothing better than being told what someone loves about you. It’s the ultimate gratitude list, appreciation conversation, and celebration of a human being.
You don’t need to go to a hit Broadway show to pull it off or walk holding hands window shopping on a Saturday evening in New York City (although that was pretty awesome).
You could have this conversation tonight without all that pre-gaming, if you’re up for a great date night.
Happy Valentine’s Day.