Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Date that worked and a Date that didn't

Finding babysitters where we live is hard. But for our anniversary, we wanted to celebrate in some way alone. We brainstormed, asked some friends, and planned for last Saturday as our two-in-one-day anniversary dates.

Xujiahui was our first stop. An hour by taxi through traffic and we arrived soon after noon. We fed Hadassah her lunch in the taxi, which worked well as it gave her something enjoyable to do so she didn't get stir crazy. She's also enjoying watching the cars and scenery more. If all else fails, we just sing endless verses of "the wheels on the bus go round and round." :)

Our friends had a room all ready for us to set up our pack 'n play. They have 3 children, so they know what's needed. They kept the house quiet, had white noise going, and Hadassah went down pretty easily. We were off!
It felt so amazing walking down the street hand in hand without a stroller or baby in the ERGO. Not that we don't like being with our daughter - we are so thankful for her! But, Ryan and Anna came first, and we will always enjoy the time it's just us two!

For one day, we just decided to forget about the pollution. No masks. They really would have ruined the mood... one day couldn't hurt too much, right?

The destination

Ryan had done his research well, and the place was amazing! The restaurant was small and very crowded, and when faced with a 20-30 minute wait or the table outside, we decided to enjoy the upper 50* F weather and be able to hear each other talk. It was really pleasant and nice to be outside, though the person smoking at the table next to us and the construction going on at the place next door did make the atmosphere a little less pleasant. But, we were determined to enjoy the day!

The food was incredible. Savory crepes, with cheese, potatoes, and meat, are unbelievable. Our taste buds were exploding with happiness! There was also freshly juiced apple juice drunk straight from a little bowl. Wow.
And if that wasn't enough, we finished off with the most amazing not-too-sweet but incredibly delicious dessert crepe. Wow.

We left our tip - yes, the amount of money you spend in RMB seems exorbitant still at times (divide by approximately 6 to get the USD amount) and headed off hand in hand to explore the French Concession area of Shanghai.

By now, we were a little cold from sitting outside, so browsing some gift shops was fun as well as a way to warm up some! We felt so carefree to be out as a couple, being able to talk like we hadn't in months and just look into each other's eyes without interruptions. We were blessed!

We jokingly remarked that everything had gone well too - something that seems to rarely happen in a foreign context. Well, we spoke too soon.

We went back to our friends house, collected a happy Hadassah who greeted us with "choo choo!" and led us over to see the cool trains she'd been playing with, and loaded up for our next destination.

A family from our church has been in the states for a few months, and had offered use of their apartment for us to stay in whenever we wanted, as it's just one subway stop from where our church meets. The time it takes to pack up and sleep in a new place with a little one has kept us from doing it, but tonight it seemed fitting. We had plans to put Hadassah to sleep and go out on the town, to the Bund - the center of romance and pretty lights and atmosphere in Shanghai. I'd never seen it with the lights, and it being iconic of Shanghai, we felt it was about time!

A sweet lady from church was going to come and stay at the apartment while Hadassah slept, but we weren't too worried. Naps can sometimes be troublesome, but Hadassah always goes to sleep without a problem and sleeps deeply for the hours before midnight at least.

Friends met us with the keys and helped us figure some things out, then we set up and fed Hadassah supper. We also spent about an hour trying to get the heaters turned on. The living room one had a sticker next to the right setting, but the ones in the bedrooms never got warm, no matter how many settings we tried. It's the downside of not being able to read Chinese characters... We finally gave up, thankful for the space heater we put in Hadassah's room and the big blanket on our bed.

But when I started gathering Hadassah's things for bed, I noticed something was missing: "Nigh-night lamb." The precious lamb blanket that Hadassah sleeps with every nap and night time. I often find her hugging it, and she's started playing with it more too, sharing toys and snacks with it (if I let her!) and treating it like her best friend. We frantically searched everything. Then again. And again... We texted our friends she'd be with in the afternoon, but they couldn't find it. I looked again...

Bedtime was upon us, so I found a soft, silky tiger in the kid's room, got Hadassah interested in it, and went through the bed time routine. 20 seconds after we tucked her in and let the room, we heard the first scream. By now the lady who was going to stay there had arrived, and I was on edge. What do we do? I tried nursing her again, going through the routine, putting her down again... same sobs and screams. Ryan described it best: "She's crying as though someone she knows and loves has died."

We gave her a few minutes, hoping she'd eventually calm down. But she didn't. The friend offered to stay and let us go, saying she was sure eventually she'd fall asleep. But I couldn't leave her. I know the time will come when Hadassah will let go of her lamb, but by then she'll be older and more able to understand. We had trained her to sleep well with her little lovey, and we didn't feel this training to sleep without it was the right time or place.

Plus, we had a second, identical lamb blanket at home. Thankfully we'd had foresight to get another while we were in the states, mostly so we had a spare when it was in the wash. So, we got Hadassah up, and she happily played after taking some time to calm down, relieved to be out of the dark without her "nigh-na." Suitcases, pack 'n play, breakfast for tomorrow that turned into supper for Ryan and I... all was packed and we loaded into a taxi for the 45 minute drive home.

We got home around 9 PM, 2 hours after Hadassah is usually in bed, but she did okay, as I told her we were going to get her lamb. The joy on her face as she wrapped it in her arms was priceless, and she went down in her bed without a peep.

Ryan and I turned on the heaters in the bathroom and enjoyed the warmth, hugging and looking at the finery we'd dressed in for a night on the town. It didn't seem fair. Tears filled my eyes momentarily. Things always seemed to be going wrong... but we know God is in control, and somehow there is a purpose. And as we hugged, I realized this is true love.

Going out and dates is a way to keep love kindled and fresh, but living day by day, through the joys and the disappointments and staying strong and connected... that's the love that lasts. We are parents now too, and there are responsibilities that come with it. And seeing Ryan as a loving husband and caring father has only made me love him more.

We ended the day looking at the pictures from our afternoon date, focusing on the joy that afternoon had held. Those are memories that will stay with us. And even the date that didn't happen is something we'll remember and laugh at. "Give thanks in all circumstances..." We're learning.

1 comment:

  1. Y'all are such caring compassionate parents! Perhaps the night date to the Bund can be rescheduled??? -- Donna Jo