This weekend is the 4th of July. There is something so liberating about a long holiday weekend. It gives you extra time to step out of the daily grind and do something special for yourself. Whenever I have a long weekend, I tend to divide my time equally between hanging out with the Boy, spending time with my family and cleaning my house. By the third day of vacation I usually get the urge to cook something, like a giant casserole or a lasagna.
Last night the Boy and I went out to dinner and drinks at a local Tapas restaurant. Sometimes we like to sit and eat at the high top tables near the bar. It is a little more casual and comfortable than the white table cloth atmosphere in the dining room. Because it was a holiday weekend, the crowd was pretty sparse so the bartender was doing double duty as a waiter. I immediately took notice because he was really good looking.
The Boy went outside to put some money in the parking meter and the bartender approached our table while he was gone. "So, do you want to order a drink or wait until your husband comes back," he inquired.
Usually I would make a point to correct him and explain that the Boy is not my husband, but this time I just smiled and said "Let's wait, he will be right back."
The entire evening, I had this feeling that the bartender was watching us. I just assumed it was because we were the only people in his section, aside from a woman sitting alone drinking wine at the bar. We had a few glasses of sangria and sampled various dishes while we shuffled through our typical date night banter. We were talking about the Boy's quest to find another house and my decision to tackle the last significant remodeling project at my house, the downstairs bathroom.
It was one of those nights where I just felt "on" for some reason. I was wearing a cream colored spaghetti strap sundress and some wedgy little sandals. Every time the bartender would bring us anything, I would pause the conversation, make eye contact with him and say thank you. I am sure part of my behavior was because he was very cute. But the other part was just because I was genuinely having a good time.
At the end of the night, the bartender came over to bring our check. "There is such a great aura coming from this table," he noted. "Are you guys celebrating an anniversary tonight?"
"No, just date night," I smiled back at him. As if this is how the Boy and I spend every Saturday night. Which I guess when you think of it, is not that far from the truth.
"Well, you guys have been smiling and laughing all night. It's really nice to see." The bartender gave me a nod and headed back over to the bar to cash us out.
I was somewhat surprised that the bartender observed us all night and then even felt compelled to make a comment to us. To me, there is nothing particularly special about our relationship. While we are in fact happy, there are certainly times when I have been happier. And there are definitely times when I have been more in love. Yet, that bartender envisioned us as a model of Saturday evening couplehood. Which, from someone who probably watches hundreds of couples eating dinner each week, I guess I should take that as a compliment.
The next day, I left the Boy to his own devices so I could take my nephew to see the new Selena Gomez movie called Monte Carlo. My nephew is in love with Selena Gomez, which is probably pretty typical for eight-year old boys of his generation. The movie was actually really sweet. Selena Gomez's character graduates high school and takes a trip to Paris to "find herself." The trip doesn't quite turn out as she had hoped and instead of sticking with the guided tour, she and her friends end up on their own adventure in Monte Carlo where she is mistaken for a princess and gets to assume the princess's identity for an entire week.
Of course, the truth comes out and the prince who had fallen for her walks away, only to have a change of heart at the end of the movie when he finds her volunteering in his family's school for poor children in Romania. Plus, her friend ends up with a really hot guy from Australia and they travel off to climb Machu Picchu and live happily ever after.
After the movie, my nephew started asking me all about travel. He wanted to know how to get a passport and I explained to him that you have to get a special photo taken and you send it away with your application and then it arrives in about 6-8 weeks. He wanted to know if kids can get passports too and I said absolutely. He would just need to get his Mom to help fill out the application. Then he asked which countries I had been to, but not including Canada because that doesn't count.
I told him about all of the stamps that I had in my passport and where they were from:
Plus a trip I took to Cancun, Mexico with my sister for spring break. I am not sure that one counts either, but I did get a stamp for it.
Some people might think that its not appropriate for an eight year old boy to watch a kissing movie with Selena Gomez. Maybe they are afraid it will give him the wrong idea, or that he is growing up too fast. But my nephew walked away from that movie thinking about all of the places in the world that he would like to go, and what it would take for him to get there. I wonder if I would have had the same outcome if I had taken my seven-year old niece to see that movie instead.
As women, we are so programmed from a young age to focus on the happy ending. And that inevitably includes a perfect guy. Even when we already have a man in our life, it seems that we are always watching to see if someone else has a better relationship than we do.
I am turning 40 this year. For as much emphasis as society places on that number, it actually does not bother me at all. I see it as a milestone and it has motivated me to reclaim my life in some way. I have been working for far too long at a job that I don't enjoy and trying to be the glue that holds everyone else's life together. Just like Selena Gomez's character, I am ready to find myself (again). But I am pretty sure that my path to happiness won't involve a prince or a school for Romanian orphans.
So many people are looking to find someone to complete them or make their life better in some way. I feel like I am the only person in the world who just wants to be left alone. For as much as I enjoy all of the people and activities in my life, I am equally happy to be with myself. And I take a great deal of pride in my independence.
Last summer, around the time when I was turning 39, we were spending a bit of time at the jewelry store. My Mom was having some of the stones from her jewelry re-mounted into more modern settings so she could pass them on to us. I remember looking at these gorgeous diamond earrings in one of the cases and I told her that when I turned 40 years old I was going to walk into Ahee's jewelry store and buy myself a pair of those diamond earrings.
My Mom immediately adopted those diamond earrings as her new mission in life. In fact, she brought up the idea of buying them for me for my 39th birthday in just a few weeks. At the time, I talked her out of it by telling her that I wanted to wait until I turned 40. But I knew that would only be a temporary solution.
Now here we are a few weeks away from my 40th birthday and my Mom has already called me twice to ask me about the earrings. I wish I had never said anything to her in the first place because now she will not let it go. She doesn't seem to understand that it is not that I wanted a pair of diamond earrings for my 40th birthday. I wanted to walk into the store as a strong, independent woman and buy myself a pair of diamond earrings for my 40th birthday.
I know it must sound terrible to complain about how hard my life is because someone wants to buy me a pair of diamond earrings and I don't want them to do it. But because of all the drama with the earrings, I have completely lost interest in them. They no longer represent my vision to do something special for myself to celebrate a significant milestone in my life. They are just another external pressure or expectation that I am not willing to give in to just to make someone else happy.
Tonight I told my Mom that I had changed my mind about the earrings. And now, I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I am considering taking a vacation to Monte Carlo for my 40th birthday. Maybe Selena and I have more in common than I thought.