Life With Ladybug’s Dad: When Date Nights Go Bad

lbfairy03.gifBy Shannon Magsam

The grown-ups in this house don’t get out much. We talk about a date night, but it seems we’re all talk and no action. I know you understand. And I know you’ll also understand what happened when those grown-ups finally did break the chain to flee an hour away for dinner.

It was over the weekend. Ladybug’s first sleepover away. The plan was for her to be picked up at 6 p.m. on Saturday, go to a kids’ Halloween party then head over to her friend’s house for some jewelry-making, pizza rolls and general girlie fun. All day Saturday we had the count-down, the one parents hate and try to avoid at all costs. “How many more minutes?” she kept asking. “More like HOURS, Ladybug,” I told her, but that didn’t help. In desperation, we decided to leave the house for a while. We hit the pet store (where a wolf/dog tried to eat a small Yorkie dressed as a princess), Lewis & Clark and Worlds Underwater for a new balloon-bellied Molly fish.

By 5 p.m. Ladybug was manically riding her bicycle around the cul-de-sac (did you know she just learned to ride without training wheels? No? Remind me to tell you about it). Of course, they were late. By the time they came in, we took pictures of the girls in their Halloween costumes and they left, I was ready to just sit down and stare at a wall. So I did.

Then from the huz: “Are you ready?!” Just when I thought I’d much rather dive under the couch, I suddenly, somewhere, felt the tremor of a date vibe. Or at least a small tingle. I quickly changed clothes, added a little lipstick and said I was ready to go. We talked non-stop to Bentonville until I suddenly remembered something I’d forgotten: my cell phone. How the heck did people with kids exist without cell phones? I went from relaxed, flirtatious wife to anxiety-ridden mama in a matter of seconds. What if the sleepover mom needed to call me? What if there was an accident? My husband asked if I wanted to go back and get the phone.

“No,” I said without conviction. Then I said it again with confidence. I figured I’d bum a phone from someone at the restaurant and at least let the mom know I didn’t have the phone if she tried to call. And that’s what I did (thanks, complete stranger Derek who doesn’t have kids but was totally indulgent anyway). As we sat down, I tried to continue the happy banter my husband and I had started in the car. It fell flat. I wasn’t able to relax, even though I was telling myself I was being ridiculous (in my head). I looked over the menu, but couldn’t read the words for the thoughts swirling in my head. The cell phone is like an invisible cord between my daughter and me anytime we’re not together.

Suddenly a happy thought occurred to me.

“She’s a nurse!” I said with a smile. I meant the friend’s mom. It suddenly made me feel better to know Ladybug would be in capable, nurse’s hands.

I was finally able to read the menu in peace so I made my dinner choice and sat back to enjoy my husband and my iced tea. After a few minutes I decided to use the restroom. As soon as I walked in the door, I saw a blonde, blue-eyed little girl about Ladybug’s age. I started praying again. I knew it was ridiculous to get so worked up, but I couldn’t seem to shake the mood.

I came back to the table in a funk.

“I should have turned around and gotten the phone,” my husband said with a sigh.

I considered his statement and said brightly, “Well, maybe when dinner’s over we could just swing by the house and get the phone. Then we could go somewhere else close to home.”

By then, dinner was over.

Yay for date night.

*Ladybug fairy courtesy of A Kid’s Heart


  1. this blog made me laugh! i am exactly like that. My husband gets so mad at me because I never relax on a date night (even though I always have my phone!!!haha) :)Guess it’s a mom thing…

  2. You DO realize that you and I were separated at birth, right?

    I have SO totally done this!!

    Don’t feel bad… you’re just a good mom.

  3. Jamie and Summer,

    Thanks for letting me know I’m not all alone 😉 It really IS hard to relax sometimes, depending on where she is. I think it was harder since this was her first ever sleepover (one that didn’t involve a cousin, that is). I wondered if I might get a phone call to pick her up (and me without a phone!) but she made it through the night with no trouble. Well, that made one of us!

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