Ten years later, he has a good house with a great backyard, a dog who is always up for a game of fetch, a son who lights up when Dada enters the room, and a wife who is so glad she went out that Friday night.
6:30pm: Entertain your child with the contents of the tupperware drawer as you switch out those yoga pants for a dress and heels.
6:45pm: Put on eyeliner for the first time in longer than you care to admit.
7pm: Hand your child to the sitter as you walk out the door. Resist the urge to run.
7:15pm: Enjoy a pair of crisp gin and tonics as you compliment one another on looking so fly.
7:30pm: A waiter seats you for dinner — and it’s not in your living room, and it’s not on your couch, and it’s not leftovers.
8pm: Boldly accept the suggestion of an overpriced bottle of red, because this is the one bottle all year that you haven’t bought at Harris Teeter.
8:45pm: Regale one another with memories of previous nights out. Reassure one another that you’ve still got it.
9:15pm: After-dinner liqueurs? Don’t mind if you do!
9:30pm: This midlife suburban crowd just isn’t cutting it. Remember that cool place you went to that one time, three years ago?
9:40pm: Applaud yourself for responsibly checking in with the sitter on your way uptown.
10pm: High-five the bouncer as he laughingly waves you in.
10:01pm: Realize you are the only ones there.
10:02pm: Undeterred, check in on social media so the world knows you mean business.
10:03pm: Convince your partner that a shot is the best idea that either of you have ever had.
10:05pm: Reenact the closing scene of Dirty Dancing, on an empty dance floor, to a Drake song you have never heard. Extra points for the lift.
10:30pm: Hover over your phone, nostalgically scrolling through images of your child since birth.
10:40pm: Back in the cab, negotiate shrewdly as to who pays the sitter.
11pm: Hand over an indiscriminate wad of cash as your partner slouches anonymously down the hall.
6:30am: A bleating child and pounding head serve as painful reminders of how far you have come, and how far you have yet to go.
We arrive on time – that much is true,
And Henry is all smiles for class.
The teacher lets him strum her guitar
While I prepare to feel like an ass.
The music starts and everyone sings,
And everyone else knows the tune,
But Henry’s Mommy hasn’t been there in weeks
So she hums awkwardly like a buffoon.
The gestures – oh, the gestures! –
The entire room knows what to do;
Hands up high, hands down low,
I am able to anticipate a few.
It’s not just that I can’t always make it.
(Trying to get over this guilt about working);
It’s the judgment I feel from not following along,
The pity glances and the side smirking.
And maybe I’m imagining some of that –
And truly, I don’t really care,
Because five minutes in, my baby reminds me
The real reason we take him there:
He wanders the circle, patting kids’ heads
Or dances off to the mirror all alone;
The music fills up that sweet little heart
And he is free to make it his own.
So sorry, honey – Mommy’s never been good
At getting her homework done.
So we’ll be the ones who don’t know the words,
But we’ll be the ones having the most fun.