A Bike Ride and Lunch

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

One big joy of raising children is rediscovering the simple pleasures of life. Their sense of wonder and discovery rejuvenates your own worldview. The ho-hum moments are suddenly new and exciting again.

The ugly flip side: When was the last time you enjoyed those simple pleasures - a walk in the woods, a picnic, canoeing - with your spouse, without your children?

Our first date, nearly 20 years ago, was spent cruising a bike path, but neither of us could recall the last time we'd biked together without a child seat or tag-along contraption.

GEOFF: So we hired a babysitter and embarked on a little bicycle adventure. It reminded us that certain assumptions and unwritten rules for date nights are worth breaking. Date nights needn't involve elaborate planning, or a dinner or movie, or a destination event. They don't require spending money. Nor should date nights be limited to nighttime. All you need is a babysitter. Suddenly, you can do as much (or as little) as you want.

MELISSA: Remember the days when you and your spouse ran errands together, went places at the last minute and conversed for hours uninterrupted? We can't offer you a date on a time machine, but we can promote the idea of spending time together doing the little things you used to do. Sure, you're going to have to hire a sitter to do it - but we think it's money well spent.

GEOFF: Initially, Melissa and I figured we would ride our bikes along a local path that goes to a nearby park. We even talked about taking a picnic lunch. When the day dawned rainy and gloomy, we changed our plans. We opted to bike from our house in Bexley to the Short North, an idea we stole from a couple of empty nesters we know. Biking through the city gave us a number of options in case the weather got nasty. If it started to rain, we figured we could stop at the Columbus Museum of Art or Franklin Park Conservatory, and wile away the afternoon.

MELISSA: The weather held and we made it to the Short North. As we rolled up High Street, I really felt like I was in the midst of a mini-getaway. I knew we could wander in and out of stores and boutiques without whining or the worry that something would get broken. We actually walked into more than one restaurant before deciding where to eat - something we never could have pulled off with the boys in tow.

GEOFF: This was a leisurely ride with a lot of talking. It would have cost us nothing except a sitter, if not for an impulse stop for a late lunch and Bloody Marys (who can escape the Short North without eating?). This no-frills, lackadaisical, daytime outing suited me perfectly. It reminded both of us that we sometimes try too hard to do too much, on those infrequent occasions when we hire a babysitter. After all, all we need is a little time together.

The financials:

Lunch: $44

Babysitting fees: $40

TOTAL COST OF THE afternoon: $84