I wanted to reflect on some thoughtful times for which I am grateful. Whether you have small kids now or had your children back in the 90’s, you know or have heard of the term “Play Date.” With schedules being jam packed even for a one year old, play dates are mandatory. A play date is created after friends select a date, time and venue. The time is set aside so that children can interact, play, get to know each other and have fun. It's socializing and it starts young.
I was invited to join a play date group when I was new to town and had a 7 month old in tow. The mamas in this group were all different ages, backgrounds, ethnicities etc. and the kids ages varied a little. We made it a priority to meet every Thursday afternoon. Even though our play dates consisted of moms engaging in broken-two-sentence conversations while our kids ran around, those dates were precious.
Adults also schedule "play dates" for themselves. They are called Date Nights, GNOs, HHs etc.
Going out on a date is totally different than Date Night. Just kidding. It is exactly that. Two people going on a date is Date Night. Calling it Date Night makes it "official" and no one should try to sabotage it - especially your kids! But even if you don't have kids, Date Night means you are officially out on the town so DO NOT DISTURB. The most important time in my week is with my husband, almost every Saturday night. And even though we have had this standing Date Night ritual for over 4 years, every Saturday, it never EVER gets boring for me.
Remember when Girls Night Out used to take place on a Friday or Saturday? Nowadays every night of the week is acceptable or better yet, encouraged, because our weekends are already packed with parties, Date Nights, kids sports and/or play dates. Family Magazine highlighted the many ways women come together to spend time AND do something fun. Yup, we multi-task even when we are having fun. The examples the article laid out were: craft night, group work out sessions, Sunday Brunch (come in pjs), try new outings once a month like bowling or trapeze lessons, a cooking night, paint parties. etc. I have a Diner's Club group of friends that try out the newest restaurants when they hit the Twin Cities - yum! I LOVE to have theme GNOs but I'm content with just talking with friends (sans the multi-tasking). Last week a bunch of my friends planned to have a “Board Game” GNO at our friend's house. We never even opened a game box.
HHs are the Happy Hours. The times when you need to unwind and have a brief "meeting" to forget the meetings you had that day. It’s all about separate bar tabs so you can come and go as you please. No major commitments, no ordering entrees, no scrutinizing over your calendars to create this adult play date. It could be impromptu or planned, it doesn’t matter. Just brief opportunities of camaraderie. Sigh. I haven’t gone to a Happy Hour in years but someday...
I am grateful for these thoughtful times in my life. I am grateful that my thoughtful friend asked me to join that play date group when I needed to feel welcomed. I'm grateful that my thoughtful husband preserves our Date Night and reminds me that it's ok to skip it for a party or share the date with other couples once in awhile, but we need our own time. I am grateful for the many thoughtful types of GNOs I have enjoyed. I am grateful that people still go to Happy Hour! These dates are all "organized" socializing. It's The Container Store version of maintaining relationships. Would I rather NOT have to consult a calendar every time I wanted to see friends and family? You betcha! Thoughtful planning helps you put a date together; to set aside some time for you to interact, play, get to know each other and have fun - just like the one year olds of today.