Sunday, February 21, 2021

Car Dates

 One of the casualties of pandemic life at la casa Bryant has been date nights. As people who have never been married without children (I already had a daughter when I married Sweetman), date night has been essential to us from the get-go. We work to make sure we get some quality us-two time alongside work and family responsibilities, even when we can't afford anything fancy.

We have a teenager still at home, and while we do all try to give each other some space here during the pandemic, we've only been home without her about three nights in the past year (when she had a sleepover with her college-student-sister). It's not an option to send her on a sleepover, or even just to a friend's house for the afternoon like we're used to. 

Most of our favorite dating options, such as movies, restaurants, and theater outings have either been unavailable, or have not be available in a way that we feel safe about utilizing. So, what's a couple to do?

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Sweetman and I value our date time, and though we try to capture a bit of it at home by getting special takeout and watching movies at home, playing games together, and banishing the teenager to her room for a while so we can feel alone, it's not the same. 

We're both bad at separating from the to-do lists and practicalities when we're at home, so it's hard for us to capture a sense of fun and romance without going somewhere. 

Some months ago, though, we came up with the car date. 

Basically, we pick something to go see, and a scenic route to get there, hop in the car and drive (leaving the teenager home with the dog to YouTube unfettered for a a few hours). 

Along the way we talk, play songs for each other, hold hands over the gear shift and seek new experiences together. 

While we have a destination, it's generally something we found on Atlas Obscura, involving driving by something or getting out and looking at an oddity, not something with tickets and timetables, so it's okay if we stop anywhere along the way just because we saw something interesting or if we fail to find the thing we were looking for. 

If the weather is nice, we get some takeout and find a place to picnic. If it's too cold or rained too recently, we get some takeout at the end of things, and take it back home to enjoy. 

This week's date took us on a lovely sunlit drive through muddy storm-bedraggled countryside to Shangri-La…the miniature stone village built by a retired farmer and available to admire and explore for free. It's adorable! A series of small buildings made of stone and brick, arranged in a tiny village. Toys strewn throughout add to the whimsy and crocus sprouts were just poking out their heads, so I intend to come back soon to see them in bloom. 

We were both completely charmed by the project and the results. Along our drive we found a local cider producer we didn't know about and found out where exactly a nature area I'd heard about was located. So future small adventures are afoot!

How about you, people of the internet? How do you keep a little romance in your lives under current circumstances? 


  1. I love your new date idea of a little road trip. It's important to have time alone with your spouse when you have kids. I can imagine how much harder it is to find that time during the pandemic.

    1. Thanks. In some ways, we're fortunate that, if this had to happen, it happened when our girls were a bit older. People trying to work at home with toddlers and infants are looking worn thin. On the other hand, when the teenager was younger, we could stay up later than her for. a little us time. Now, we can't outlast her :-)