I’ve been reading a whole slough of self-help-parenting-books-or-blogs lately; one common thread uniting all the advice is this: parents need a weekly date night. When I reach this section of information generally I begin to feel irritated. The irritation ranges from annoyance at the author’s inclusion of such a subject, frustration that Ty and I don’t get to go on more “dates,” or criticism of those few (and frankly unknown to me!) couples who do have time and money and babysitters available for a weekly date night. Just the other day I was reading one such book on one such section as date nights and as the irritation began to creep up, rather than let it take over my whole mood, I actively tried to fit the advice for one-on-one spouse time into the scene of my life. And you know what? Mr. Rancher and I actually do go on quite a few dates!
Our dates do not include going to a movie, going to an amusement park, eating at fancy restaurants, playing our way through arcades, or going to awesomely-fun trampoline parks. Nope a date with a rancher goes a little something like this:
“Hey honey, I need to haul a couple bull up to the cows. Wanna go with me?”
“Hey honey, I need to ride through the cows and check for any new calves. Wanna ride with me?”
“Hey honey, I need to swath this field of hay. Wanna sit in the swather with me?”
“Hey honey, I have a couple horses to shoe. Wanna go horseshoeing with me?”
Each of these “dates” and many more are a regular thing in my marriage. I’m convinced that our cows and hay fields are on a mission to upset virtually any set of plans I ever make to do something not related to agriculture with Mr. Rancher. They’re like a whiny toddler that simply can’t play alone for longer than five minutes and simply must follow mom around the house, clinging to her leg, and whimpering her need for constant and undivided attention from her mother…but I digress. What I’m trying to say is that cows and hay need a lot of attention, and just as soon as I plan something the cows get out or the hay is ready to be baled. So if I want to see my husband, especially during the summer months, I have to tag along and do what he does, go where he goes.
For the most part, I’m happy to follow him around and help out, and my sister-in-law is fabulous about watching the Little Miss on short notice. My one problem is that diesel pick-ups tend to put me to sleep. Something about the noise from the engine and the slight shaking that comes from driving on gravel roads inevitably lulls me off into a somewhat restful nap. Mr. Rancher pretends to get annoyed when I drift off, like clockwork, for the final twenty minutes of any drive. I don’t think he really minds it though; in fact, he probably likes a break from my steady stream of open-ended and philosophical questioning. You’d probably be tired too if you tried to interest a busy cowboy in the plot of the the Iliad (which I finished by the way!) or any other piece of classical literature that he has no interest in reading and that you quite possibly don’t understand anyway.
Rambling on, Mr. Rancher and I have built our relationship on a long line of unconventional dates and outings and that’s just fine with me. It’s also just fine with me that anywhere we drive allows me at least twenty minutes of nap-time on the way. Do you and your spouse have time for weekly date nights? What kinds of things do you go do? Don’t be afraid to share! I’ve helped Mr. Rancher re-insert the prolapsed uterus of a cow on what was supposed to be a date, and I’m sure nothing can be much worse (or less romantic) than that!