Picking Along Memory Lane

Understated strains of jazz emanated from the softly lit interior as Craig and I were shown to our booth at The Melting Pot in downtown Ann Arbor.  It was so romantic, it made me forget about the quarter-mile I’d just hiked to the restaurant.  In high heels. After two glasses of white wine.

We had just come from an AnnArbor.com Top-of-the-Park contributor party, and so we had decided to savor a little more “together time” before heading home to relieve the baby sitter.  And since both of us had indulged at the party, we hoofed it to the restaurant.

I sank into the cushioned booth, grateful to be off my feet, and admired the handsome man across from me. Craig had on this blue striped shirt that matches his eyes;  I was dolled up in a swishy skirt and high heels.

Now, maybe it was all the cheese and chocolate, or the second glass of wine from the party. But sitting across the double boiler from my DH, I felt a warm rush of memory. There was a time when we hung out at little eateries like this one all the time, in the days before kids. Before parenthood. Before marriage, even.

In that little romantic oasis, we fell back into easy banter, flirtation, and giggling. (Okay, I giggled; he emitted a manly gaffaw at my undeniable cuteness.)  Everything but the samba, rumba, and cha-cha-cha.

Then, out of nowhere, came a memory of a different kind: Earlier that afternoon, when I’d returned home with the kids after a day of helping my friend with her garage sale. We were hungry, grumpy, and all the other ugly dwarfs. And so I was none too pleased to walk into the house and find everything — including the overgrown lawn — EXACTLY as I’d left it that morning.

Memories can be tricky things. The same memory — of a romantic evening in the distant past, for example —  evoke feelings of nostalgia. And yet, those nostalgic feelings can elicit two very different responses: regret for something long-gone, or a reminder of dormant potential.

At the restaurant, I was reminded of a connection that transcends unwashed floors and unmanicured lawns, sleepless nights and financial concerns. And I was reminded of the importance of simple fun in any relationship.  Because we want the kind of love that lasts forever … not the kind of marriage that stretches out interminably, like a forced march in too-tight shoes.

And so, on the way home last night, I made a new resolution … To be more intentional about re-creating opportunities for fun and friendship with my husband. I’m going to spend more time kicking up my heels along memory lane.