I honestly can't remember the last time M and I went on a proper child-free date. We are the sort of parents who refuse to hire a babysitter. With only friends on hand to carry out child-minding duties, we think it best to call in that favour in real emergencies.
Also, there is always work to do. DIY, bills, cleaning, online shopping, there is no dearth of tasks to occupy any child-free hours we may occasionally have.
Not so this Monday gone. M was at home, J was at school, and I was hungry. Wagamama have only recently opened at The Trafford Centre and I really fancied eating spicy edamame beans. So I dropped the blogging, M dropped whatever it is that he was doing, and we headed out for lunch.
What made the outing special was happened before, during and after the meal.
I had made the effort to brush my hair, apply a touch of make-up and change out of my comfy school-run trainers into a pair of boots. There was absolutely no back-seat driving or petty squabbling in the car.
We sat at a cosy corner booth in the restaurant. We sat across the table, facing each other. And bar the couple of food photos I took, there was a complete absence of screens throughout lunch. M and I, we talked. Like we used to, since we first met all those years ago.
And then we held hands as we strolled through The Trafford Centre. Just like we used to all those years ago.
We stopped to eat ice-cream and to pick up a pair of earrings. Claire's had an offer going, so I ended up buying three. We returned home to cups of tea and jam biscuits. And then it was time to do the school run.
I was smiling as I changed back into my trainers. I felt happy. I was content. M and I were back where we belonged. Together and in love. Just as we were when we first met all those years ago.
Only now, there was an additional dimension to that love. One that we are truly grateful for. And I was off to pick him up from school.
But sometimes, just once so often, it pays to have a couple of hours to ourselves as grown-ups. To reflect and reminisce and rekindle that love.