It’s been a while since I’ve written about a date night, honestly because it’s been a while since we’ve had one. It stinks how busy we get, and before we know it we’re falling into the same patterns again. This means the conversations become more mundane, the kisses are less passionate, and the hugs just don’t seem to last as long. Which is usually when we look at the calendar and see a ridiculous amount of things written on there – Jay’s travels, my planned events, Julia’s playdates, Emily’s school events, and all the other family things we are invited to. What we don’t see: a scheduled date night.
We’ve learned that planning something specific to talk about is a huge factor in a date night’s success. As it turned out, there was a huge art festival going on just a street away from Jay’s office building. Early in our relationship we were in the habit of visiting art festivals whenever one crossed our path, but it had been a while since we’d visited one. It was the perfect way to get out of the house and spend some time together sans kiddos, and we knew the art would provide tons of conversation starters.
If you’ve never been to an art festival, let me draw a picture for you. Food trucks. Funky sculptures. Live music. Paintings. Beer. Unusual people. Photographs. Ice cream. Metalwork. Jewelry. We absolutely love it.
We walk down the rows of booths, laughing at the things we find ridiculous: sculptures of human figures hanging from ropes so that they appear to be scaling the wall (who wants to look up at a blue derrière above their heads?); beautifully painted puppies with feathers glued on their bodies where the fur should be; photographs of topless women in bizarre places – a swamp, up a tree, on a barbed-wire fence. We share an ice cream cone. We chat with the artists. Sometimes we run into someone we know. We repeatedly fall in love with an artist’s style, only to look closer and see that we can’t afford anything we like – which isn’t a problem since we aren’t really there to shop.
But on rare occasions we walk past a booth and stop – because one particular image has managed to catch our attention equally. On this particular trip it was a photographer’s impressionistic picture of trees, mounted on metal and floated in a black frame. It was stunning, and we both wanted it. After talking to the photographer for a few minutes we learned that the piece we fell in love with was actually his first attempt at an impressionistic photograph. It’s titled “Mustard Field,” and you can see the yellow of the mustard field along the bottom of the treeline. We loved the yellow mustard plants, we loved the black tree trunk jutting up vertically out of the mustard, and we loved the way the blue sky peeked from between the trees near the top. The photographer had the same image mounted or matted in different sizes using different methods (you can see them in the picture below), but we knew right where we wanted to hang this one, the price was right, and we bought it. 🙂
I think what I love most about this type of date night is how close it makes me feel to Jay. Walking, talking, holding hands. Sharing treats. Sharing opinions. We found our photograph as the festival was shutting down for the day, but even if we hadn’t found anything we liked we had the best time together – I dare say it was almost as if we were ten years younger and didn’t have two kids waiting for us back home. Afterward, we had dinner at a restaurant and hit Starbucks before heading home, talking all the way about what we’d seen and purchased.
It isn’t always in the budget – or our schedule’s best interest – to have date night outside of our home, but in my opinion this topped seeing a movie because it gave us time to talk and enjoy each other’s company. We connected. And whenever we look at the art we bought, I know this date will come to mind and that connection will be remembered – even if at that moment the hugs are temporarily shorter than usual. ❤
PS – Check out more of the photographer’s work here. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated in any way for writing this post. This guy’s work is awesome, and we will very likely be making another purchase from his collection. 🙂