Last night DudeDad and I went on a date.
On a Tuesday?
We are crazy people.
It is rare for us to be able to escape for a night away, especially during the week when the hustle and bustle of family life with youngish kids is in full swing.
But, now that Dude 1 is 15 and Dude 3 is 9, I figured we could slip away for a couple of hours nearly unnoticed. It’s not an ideal date night schedule, but we had a completely open night, with no practices, and little homework, and these complimentary tickets to the Carrabbas Wine Dinner.
And yet, I can not tell you how much I was beating myself up at 4:45 yesterday afternoon for agreeing to go.
I’m one of those people who always gets excited about going places until it is actually time to go places.
I’m constantly like I need a night out, we should go out, and then when it’s time I’m more like…
I struggle to muster the effort to wear real pants during the week so when I have to also do heels and a dress and a small purse that all of my things don’t easily fit in -nah.
In fact, I could make a laundry list of reasons why me going to an event, 30 minutes from home, on Tuesday is not something I wanted to do.
The outfit and the makeup and the shoes and the purse and the drive and the weather and it’s dark and I’m busy.
Plus, I’d have to be social.
Believe it or not, I am not a super outgoing person. I don’t struggle in social situations, but I am happier not in them.
Especially not on Tuesdays.
Especially not when going as a “blogger”.
There are expectations then. Ones that mean you have to bring your blog “personality” with you. You have to smile and ask questions and talk to the manager and tell a few jokes and be a joyful, engaging, somewhat interesting part of the party.
Like your blog in real life.
You can’t slink into a back corner and slurp your wine surreptitiously while woofing down pasta and glaring at the clearly sauced patrons, silently judging them.
Unless, of course, that is your blog in real life.
But, regardless of how I feel or what other tidbits of life I have going on at the moment, when I say I am going to show up at an event, I show up at an event.
With my blog personality in tow. As expected.
So off DudeDad and I went to our Carrabbas wine dinner date night.
And, I am SO glad we did!
Let me just tell you, there is something about going out of your comfort zone and being pleasantly surprised that leaves you totally invigorated. It’s like your brain is rewarding you for taking a risk and being open to a new experience with joyful feelings or something.
I don’t know exactly how to describe it, but I know I came home from that outing smiling and happy and totally down for doing it again.
For those of you who enjoy wine, this is a no brainer.
Carrabbas does these Wine Dinner events at various locations on various nights of the month repeatedly. They roll out some of their best dishes and pair them with some of their best wines and charge you a pretty reasonable price for it all.
In fact, at our event, we had a delicious salad (the fried mozzarella topper thing was bae), followed by a pasta dish, sirloin, and the most delicious chocolate cake/brownie concoction I have had in basically all of life. Each course (four total) is paired with a wine. The entire thing cost $40 per person and they even did a couple of giveaways (someone won an iWatch!).
Now, if you know me well you know that my wine drinking game is trash. I don’t like it much and the stuff gets me loopy. Yes, I enjoy a few sips socially from time to time, but I am not a connoisseur by a long shot. In fact, I basically only know that I like whites better than reds and sweets better than dries, but if you have a cooler I’d probably just go with that.
I know, shoot me. Wine coolers are so 1990s teen bonfire party.
That said, I know yummy food when I taste it and I know good company when I get the occasion to enjoy it and this wine dinner was filled with both.
We found ourselves at a table with two other couples who truly made the evening.
Now, I’ll admit that I was dying inside when I realized we’d have to share a table with perfect strangers.
What if they were weird? Or annoying?
What if they were weird AND annoying?
What if they thought we were weird and annoying?!
DudeDad and I went back and forth about seating arrangements? Do we sit next to each other?
Across from each other?
Also weird because then we’ll wind up sitting next to someone else.
Should we just move to a table where two people were already sitting?
Nah, let’s sit alone and hope no one joins us.
Only they did.
A foursome of friends who had known each other for years came in shortly after we’d received our first course and joined us at our table for six.
They were two married couples, well beyond our age bracket, but so full of life that they give you hope for your future. They talked about being the parents of adult children, planning destination weddings and retirement parties, driving Uber for fun and golfing all day Wednesday.
They were kind and funny and talkative and sweet and fun, so fun. And they made the evening refreshing in a way a wine dinner date with just the two of us would not have been.
Of course I love getting out with my husband, and an intimate dinner out would be great. But this unplanned evening spent with four perfect strangers was exactly what I didn’t even know I needed.
To talk about travel and wine and food and weddings. To chat about work and celebrities and life. To just spend time dining and interacting with people who you may never see again, even though you will probably remember them for always. It was amazing.
As parents, away time is such a commodity that we often choose to spend it alone, or just with each other and totally I get that. I want to go to Target by myself and walk around with my Starbucks for an hour too.
But, making connections like this is important too. Mary and Pat and Beth and John* sat down at that table and gave me something they had no idea I needed, something I didn’t even know I needed (since I distinctly recall my BFF asking me if I’d have to sit with others and me responding, gawd, I hope not) -a day where adulating actually felt good.
Where it was more than a massive to-do list, unpaid bills, unruly kids, and laundry. It was about being the you you often forget exists for a few hours with wine and food and everyday people.
If you live near Germantown, Maryland check out my giveaway for tickets to the wine festival at Carrabbas, Saturday, March 25th.
*Names changed to protect the innocent
Disclosure: I received a complimentary tickets to the Carrabbas wine dinner. All opinions are my own.