I have a date! I’ve chosen my outfit: skinny jeans, a floaty top. A little lippy, red nail polish. We’re going to a place where the fish is top quality and the ambience is intimate. I can’t wait to share a kiss without looking over my shoulder. And I’ve cleaned my favourite boots for the occasion. My gumboots. I’m going fishing with the man I married. No kids in the tackle box.
Oh, how my life has changed. I can’t imagine EVER looking forward to a fishing trip pre nappies, perpetual toothbrush combat, and a house rumbling with boy germs and an eight year old girl’s regular fashion crises. Dinner at Rockpool, top-shelf bubbly and a moonlit walk along the Yarra River were high on my list of love-struck rendezvous and as close as I got to nature. Now I’m happy with a sneaky hour with my soul mate between child handovers on Sunday nights. My date with a camping chair, a book, a fishing rod and the Man Of My Dreams can’t arrive soon enough.
Since we united forces and created an instant family of seven, I’ve made a determined effort to lock in regular dates with my man. I was always uncomfortable leaving my boys with an unfamiliar sitter, but when I met my new man I battled my fears and we found a babysitter. And of course the kids were fine. When I speak to my friends, some tell me they haven’t been out alone with their partner since Max was born eight years ago, or the twins joined them in 2009. It’s funny that we make time to find the perfect shoes but years can pass without dining unaccompanied with our Chosen One.
One-on-one is a reminder of what attracted you to your Love in the first place. The mindless minutiae of parental duties fades when you join your partner for a sunset wine, a meal (cooked by someone else!) or a picnic in the back of beyond. Don’t get me wrong, I cherish the time with my children, but arguing the merits of banana versus biscuit as a post-school snack sends me… bananas.
We spent our honeymoon driving the red dirt roads of Central Victoria, the last three nights camped in a National Park with no-one in sight. Advocates for luxurious necessities, we caravanned in style. The generator screamed as the sun rose; the coffee machine attending to my caffeine cravings, and the straightener making quick work of my bed hair. The solitude, the late night chats by the fire, and the vegie-filled iron pot casserole that didn’t put our lives at risk finding its way onto children’s plates, allowed us to reconnect and simply enjoy each other’s company.
I have dates lined up through Christmas season, and I’ve sent invitations via SMS that deposit themselves neatly into the calendar of my beloved. Think of me with a fishing rod, a copy of the new Bryce Courtenay, very straight hair and my soulmate by my side. And just quietly, I won’t be using bait. There’s nothing romantic about that.
Olivia Zan is a copywriter, a runner and a dressmaker. She manages a blended family by day. And when five heads hit the pillow at sunset, her studio comes to life with the tap of the Mac, the beat of the treadmill and the hum of the Singer.