Children of Mine,
When you grow up, you will enter a vocation. You know (hopefully . . . ) that God is already at work in you, preparing you for that call that is yours and yours alone. How exciting!
With that said, here are some instructions:
IF you are called to marriage, whatever you do, go out on date nights. I know it’s hard, I know life is crazy and the money – blah, blah, blah, DO. IT. If you are called to the priesthood, for crying out loud, send your siblings some cash and a gift card and tell them to hire a sitter and get the stink out of the house. Consecrated life is your call? When you come back for a home visit (IF. IF you come back and don’t enter the blissful life of the contemplative), offer to watch your sibling’s kids. Your nieces and nephews will have a blast, your sibling/s will love you AND you’ll be reminded of the joy of your own vocation. Does everyone understand me?
Now, if you’re married and your the husband, be sure to be the one to call around for a sitter (even if it’s just calling me and dad, line it up). Your wife will appreciate it. She’ll also appreciate it when you spend you Saturday cleaning up the house so she’s not embarrassed for the sitter to come. (By-the-by, if it’s dad and I coming over, pour your wife a glass of wine and tell her I won’t judge AND I’ll do the dishes. But swish the toilet for her anyway.) If your the wife, make sure you make supper for the kiddos and have good snacks for the sitter. “Make” supper is used loosely – your kids will love leftover pizza as much a you do. Be sure to put on a little makeup and change your clothes if you have to as snot on your pant leg isn’t attractive. If it happens to be well below zero the night of the date, put on a sweater and a wink for the hubs.
Boys, it’d be good to make sure that the battery in the car isn’t dead but in case it is, offer to move the sitter’s car so you can jump it.
Then, go do something – ANYTHING. Talk to each other. People say you shouldn’t talk about your kids but sometimes that’s the most important thing you’ve got so chat away. Go somewhere you will see someone you know, say to an art show. Stick together, talk under your breaths to each other, look at each other with love.
Go to a movie, a huge, sweeping musical. Pay for a large popcorn and for-goodness-sake share a pop that you can get refills on because I’m telling you, by the time this applies to you, you’ll be spending $40 on refreshments alone. But it’s worth it so do it. Go wild and through in some gummy bears because you know your spouse likes them.
Find the perfect spot in the busy theater and get comfy. Make snarky comments about the trailers to each other and eat that popcorn with abandon because you skipped supper to catch this show. It’s okay, girls, if popcorn gets stuck in your hair and you don’t notice because it’s endearing when your husband is looking into your eyes and telling you he had a great time as he tenderly removes the snack from your tresses. Trust me on that one. Hold hands through the film and boys, so help me, let your wives hide their faces when it gets too scary/violent/emotional. Ladies, don’t be ashamed to cry. Sit for a moment when it’s through to let it sink in and then ask each other what you thought.
Let your beloved have the last sip of pop before you throw it away and take what’s left of the popcorn home for the kids. Talk about the movie all the way back, and if you’re feeling it, play the soundtracks best songs.
Pay the sitters as best as you can. Apologize if the baby went to sleep 2 hours later than you told them she would. Do not be upset when one of your kiddos is waiting up for you with a report of the night and questions about the movie. Allow them to ask 3 questions, give excited answers and then send them to bed.
And in the end, say a prayer of thanksgiving for your spouse, for your time together and beg for another date night soon.
I love you,
P.S. – Les Mis was wonderful. Epic. I hope you will read it to your children some day and let them learn all of the songs. But for pete’s sake, don’t let them sing the swear words or see the show until they’re good and ready.