Cooper was 9 months old the first time we left him with someone other than family. (And since we didn’t live close to family it was pretty much the second time we’d ever left him.) Even though we’ve been blessed with awesome friends who have made it possible for us to get away now and again for special occasions, necessary life events (classes, ER visits, birth of another child, etc), and the occasional trip to the temple, dating has been a little scarce for our tastes. Despite loving each other immensely, we felt our marriage had been dulled in some way. When a friend kindly watched our kids for our anniversary last year we excitedly went to dinner, but spent the entire dinner talking about Cooper’s ASD diagnosis. Then when the meal was over, we literally couldn’t think of anything to do, got into a bit of a spat, and returned home with a proverbial cloud over our heads. The experience concerned us (especially with the 80% divorce rate, myth or not, of parents of a kid on the spectrum being thrown around) and has since been a topic of discussion as we’ve tried harder to make our marriage a top priority. This last month the biggest step in this effort happened: we hired our first ever babysitter.
For the past few years I’ve been eyeing the young ladies in our ward and finally felt comfortable asking one of them to watch our kids for an evening. It was like going on a first date all over again, I was nervous and excited, but for a totally different reason. A few hours before our departure, I told the kids who was coming to babysit and they pulled out some of their favorite books in anticipation. Despite their enthusiasm, I was worried her arrival might be a let down and repeatedly reminded them that a girl, not a pig, would be coming over. The moment finally came that Noel and I walked out the door. We got burgers and went to the Colorado Environmental Film Festival where we enjoyed becoming more educated about dams and Colorado forest fires.
We were relieved to come home to a house that was still standing, kids sleeping in their beds, and a babysitter who claimed to “love [our] kids.” We’ve decided to make a monthly date night a time and budget priority. It feels like we’re entering a whole new stage of life in a way and it’s quite exciting!