Matt & Jill’s Twice Yearly Date Night and Getaway – 7/23/2011
Matt, like many others heading to Longmont’s Thompson Park for the annual 4th of July celebration, saw the Hippie Limo parked on Bross St. within a stone’s throw of the festivities. Accompanied by his wife Jill and their two young children, the family collectively took in the curiosity that is our Samba. Again, something that many families did that Independence Day. Unlike many others that day, Matt’s mind immediately began working on a plan to surprise his wife with a much-needed and deserved date night that would include a ride in the Hippie Limo. Now THAT is a man after my own heart.
Not long ago after the birth of their second child, Matt and Jill transplanted their family into a lovely bungalow in Longmont, CO. As is the case with all transplants, the process required them to sacrifice a few of their roots (friends, favorite places) and endure a bit of disjointedness (where are we?, what are we doing?). Once the family was settled in and life had resumed some of its normalcy, number one on Matt’s agenda was to give Jill and himself the one thing they needed most . . . time to be Matt and Jill again. I am not sure how much couples without children understand this, but once you have children (one, two, or twenty, the number of children is irrelevant, it is just a matter of scale) your identity changes; you become a plural entity. Not in the way that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie became Brangelina or in the way that peanut butter and chocolate became Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, but in the way that suddenly everything you do is far less about realizing your needs or building your identity than it is about growing the identity of your family as a whole, and in particular about nurturing the needs of children whose own growing consciousness and identities are in every moment taking a big cue from you and everything you do NOW. (No pressure.) In some ways, the path to becoming a good parent begins with the process of learning to get over yourself. However, that does not mean learning to forget or neglect yourself, or in the case of a relationship between partners with children, each other.
Enter Matt and Jill’s date night. His plan was simple. He and Jill would go into Boulder on an RTD bus for a sumptuous dinner at a Thai restaurant followed by a leisurely walk about to have a look at the shops. (In actuality, dinner was great. They did see some shops, too, but they did so hurriedly since they had to make a detour to buy avocados, one of the few things their aforementioned second child would eat at that point in time.) Matt would then coax Jill gently in the direction of the Boulder Library where I would pick them up for a surprise country-road cruise back home. Simple plans can have great impacts. I spotted them emerging from the greenery of the Boulder Creek Path, strolling casually with intertwined hands and bodies leaning into one another with complete ease and unity. It was clear that the two of them were well into the processes of remembering and celebrating themselves as individuals and as a couple. Jill giggled a bit when she saw our Samba and realized that it was waiting there for them. After the two of them looked the microbus over inside and out they practically glided into each other’s arms and nestled into their seat for the ride. We took a meandering course through downtown Boulder and out to Hygiene before angling toward their home in Longmont. I didn’t dare use the rear view mirror often so as to preserve their private and special time, but when safety necessitated that I at least check it, I saw a sublimely happy couple who looked like they had just come from their junior prom rather than from their twice-a-year date night. What a great night for the Hippie Limo . . . oh, and Matt and Jill, too, of course.
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