Long have I heard about the positive side effects of date nights for married couples. It is usually couched in phrases like, “good for the relationship,” “helps maintain a healthy relationship,” or “reinvigorates your relationship.” I imagine it keeps you sane, gets you out of the house, and away from your offspring. Sadly, Savvy and I have not mastered going on date nights. In fact, we have rarely gone out at night as a couple without the kids (this is where you sympathetically sigh for us). Though we may not rule the nightlife, we do manage to sneak out for lunches together and the odd matinee. Still, the nights have, by and large, remained elusive for most of the past six years.
Having twins only added to the parental responsibilities bent on keeping us at home night after night. That was until April, when out of the blue, some dear, generous, kind-hearted souls delivered to us a free voucher for a night’s stay at The Westin Beijing Chaoyang. Would we accept the kind offer that included free drinks in the lounge and a discounted dinner? The moment we said yes, our minds jumped into overdrive to navigate the hurdles to arrive at the glorious finish line of a decent night’s sleep in nearly eight months at a five-star hotel. Sign me up!
Hang on, what to do about the children? It wouldn’t have been much of a night off if we took them with us. Fortunately, the parents of Reina’s best friend would let her stay the night. We then turned our attention to the epic challenge of finding help to look after the twins. At first glance, this seems an easy task, but there are two babies, and we would be gone for 24 hours – an absence that requires multiple people to cover multiple shifts. Eventually, we cajoled, coerced, and persuaded four ayis and two friends to replace our presence at home over a 24-hour weekend. Add the friends looking after our daughter and it would take eight adults to look after our progeny. Come to think of it, we did deserve a night off.
And what a night it was. We started the day with a stroll through Chaoyang Park that ended with a brunch at The Rug. After a satisfying meal, we hailed a cab to the hotel. Upon checking in, the front desk staff decided to kindly upgrade our room to a higher floor so that we could enjoy the view and have a more peaceful night’s sleep. The Grange served up quite a feast, and while the jazz in the bar sounded inviting, we just returned to the room, where they sent up dessert.
Despite our best intentions, we couldn’t help but watch a movie. It was past midnight when we went to bed for what should have been a blissful night of sleep. Savvy couldn’t help waking up throughout the night, wondering
if the kids needed anything. Even I awoke several times due to what must be an ingrained habit. With nothing to do, I promptly fell back asleep, but in the end, it wasn’t a solid eight hours of sleep. Still, I cannot blame it on the generosity of our friends or the fine accommodations. Perhaps what we really needed was a second night to truly reap the rewards of a day off without kids.
illustration by sunzheng
This article originally appeared on p46 of the beijingkids June 2013 issue.
Check out the PDF version online at Issuu.com