Our Twelfth Date-A-Versary.

On November 28, 2003, I went on my first real date. And, it was perfect. The only money I spent that evening was what Starbucks was charging for a mocha and a hot chocolate. And, the turtleneck I bought minutes before. And the Christmas ornament I bought her afterwards.

Today, we tried taking three noisy kids with us to the same Starbucks. Rainy and cold just like twelve years ago. But there was no place for a family of five to sit. So, we jumped back into the car and raced to another location.

Finally, we jumped out wet and cold again, and ran inside. We pulled a couple small tables together and made room to celebrate that first date. Three kids-temperature hot chocolates made this date a little more expensive. And the snowman cookies.

These children who were giggling and challenging us to thumb wars were the treasure that came from that first date. They are the beneficiaries of the dreams we shared that night.

This may very well be our last chance for a while to celebrate a date-a-versary at Starbucks since we hope to be in Italy by end of 2016. Italians disdain the brand. There is talk of venturing into Italy, starting with the city of Bergamo. And, even if it fails in Italy, we will be more than fine with an espresso bar on every corner with coffee a million times better. But, we are sentimental.

Plus, it’s just important to date each other. Especially now. We are in such a hectic season of daily work and future work. We are settling in to the reality that what happens now can serve as a means of preparing us for the field, where Starbucks and other escape mechanisms are taken away from us. We think forward to a time when the pressure to prove our relevance in Italy is so strong that it subtly begins to pull us from each other. We must not stop dating.

I also look forward to a whole new series of dates beginning in the city of Bologna as we land for language school. Maybe a few minutes after a long day of exhausting practice, before the children are released from school. These little dates will be glue keeping us together through the chances of life.

Actually, it was Amy who mentioned early this afternoon that today marked 12 years from our first date. I was carrying another “back-breaking” load of laundry into the living room to plop on to the couch for assortment. My mind couldn’t have been further from that romantic thought. The children were full of tense energy, craving another means of entertainment. I knew what day it was — November 28. But, this annual landmark had escaped me.

Thank goodness Amy was there too, but something reminded her. Something told her, “Don’t let this pass by. Make this crucial.” And, we did. We got a little wet and cold and we didn’t even go to the right Starbucks. And twelve years ago we had the convenience of it just being the two of us. But life had become about so much more than us. That night at Starbucks was nice but it was only a seed planted.

Tonight we celebrated the growing plant.

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