One of the downers of being the parents of a child with Autism is that we feel like we can’t get out as frequently as other parents.
Now, I know that a lot of that is just our perception (coupled with the fact that the wife and I are probably too frugal for our own good). It’s hard to find a good sitter who can cope with both R – in the throes of the Terrible Threes – and the Monster, much less handle how the Monster’s not entirely verbal. So we’ve actually not had the chance to go out on date nights as frequently as we should like.
This came up in the context of thinking about my rescheduled birthday dinner, which we’re doing this coming week. No, it’s not anywhere close to my birthday. But with the making of a reservation for the dinner, we started talking about OpenTable, and how we’re almost to enough points for a fairly significantly-sized gift certificate… which is a question of when we’d ever use it.
And that’s when I got silly, as I’m wont to do. Because, frankly, any dinner without the kids is something of an obscene pleasure. We could go to McDonalds for Big Macs without the kids – ah, the luxury of injection-molded plastic seats! – and luxuriate over the all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions and sesame seed bun without having small children to herd or corral or entertain, and it would be a treat.
I think what it really says to us is that we need to get out more frequently as a couple, and not just for the purpose of going to the theater a few times per year after the kids are all but ready for bed before we leave. Something that’s a bit more date-like, when we can talk about other things besides our children. When we can be ourselves, no checking the cellphones or having to talk across a mess of drawings and homework tools on our dining room table. We’ve really seemed to let that slip a lot since the Monster was born, and more so since he was diagnosed, and it’s not done a lot for our relationship.
Still, I would say that those rare times when we do get out, it makes us appreciate the freedom to do so a lot more…