My husband and I finally got a night out, away from the kids, away from the house, just him and me. It was great. But, of course, this being my life, issues arose before the big night even started. Issue number one: I had nothing to wear. I know, I know, women say that all the time when they have a closetful of clothes to wear, but this was no exaggeration. Everything I owned that was in the least bit dressy was either too big on me, or not made for wearing in March in New England. No way was I going to let myself be cold – I’m getting to the age where if you let the cold sink in too far, it won’t ever leave. If I had to choose, comfort would come first. The characters in Sex and the City (especially Carrie and Samantha) would be appalled, but there it is.

I’m not totally without fashion sense, however. I’d prefer to have both comfort and beauty. So I went shopping…

Of course, being a stay-at-home mom, I had to bring along my two youngest ones, one of whom wasn’t feeling well and just wanted to sleep. We ran some errands first and he dragged himself around the aisles, hanging onto the cart and looking droopy. He only perked up when we spent time picking out his birthday presents. Then we headed for the mall. Unfortunately, I had delayed my shopping trip until the last minute. Perhaps if I’d gone earlier, I might have found something that wasn’t a tiny summer dress or on the sales rack and didn’t fit me! But no. There wasn’t much of anything and what there was, was u-g-l-y. My sick child kept trying to fall asleep…on the floor, leaning against the wall, on the fitting room bench. Then my two precious little boogers started fighting over the room on the bench because my youngest wanted to bed down, too.

I gave up. We went to Mickey D’s for lunch. By that point, I needed junk food. Really needed it. As I ate, I kept telling myself that I had to have something at home that would fit. The next day I searched my closet and found a few things that might work. I washed them, hung them up to dry, but didn’t bother trying them on until a half hour before we were due to leave. With high hopes, I tried on the first outfit. Too big. So I tried on the second, still foolishly optimistic. Not bad, I thought, but where are my black heels? Nowhere to be seen. I then vaguely recalled giving them to Goodwill because I never wore them. Dang. I can’t wear a skirt with tennis shoes. Can I? No…it’s a bad look. Trust me. So I tried on a few more things. Nothing worked. I looked at the clock. Agh! Ten minutes before we had to leave! I finally had to resort to a pair of dress pants and some dress shoes that I had to polish because they were a bit scuffed and more than a little dusty. The show was at an Opera House – I just hoped I wouldn’t stand out too badly.

I didn’t.

After dining out at a lovely restaurant in an old inn, we headed over to the Opera House. By then, I was thankful for my pants and sensible shoes. The restaurant had been a bit cold and the walk was refreshing to say the least. When we arrived, I was more than a bit relieved to find that I was not the only one who wasn’t dressed to the nines. But then I was disappointed. What happened to dressing up for an occasion? Nobody seems to do that anymore. At least not around here. The height of fashion appeared to be a Red Sox baseball cap paired with a Red Sox jacket.

The Opera House had been built in 1908 and as we entered the theater I could hear the swishing of ball gowns as the women swept down the aisles to take their seats. I promised myself that when I had the chance, I would search out a lovely dress and shoes for ‘occasions’ such as these. They would be comfortable, too, because I want to enjoy the performance, not constantly worrying about a girdle digging into my stomach and too-tight shoes pinching my toes. Dressing up should be fun. Remember doing it as kids?

Okay, now on to the show. The Boys of the Lough, a band that plays traditional Irish music, was the feature presentation. They were a lot of fun – four of the members were Irish and one was English. If you weren’t nodding your head, tapping your foot, or slapping your thigh, you were probably dead. Even the ghosts were joining in. I could only see four of the five boys because someone’s head was in the way, but that was okay. Biologically they weren’t really boys at all, three of the five being on the other side of forty, to be sure. In spirit, though, they were as young as could be, telling jokes, laughing, and enjoying the music with smiles on their faces. I especially liked the banter. At one point, the Irish guys were making fun of the English so the Englishman quipped back, “Yeah, they won’t even let me sleep in the same bed as them.” Even though you knew they had a schtick, they seemed to enjoy every joke as though it were the first time they’d heard it.

Despite my ‘issues’ with fashion, I had a good time. You can’t help but be inspired by Irish music. It was also nice to dine out without having to explain something again to the one child who wasn’t listening to the first explanation and wants to know what everyone’s talking about. We didn’t have to clean up spilled milk or listen to fart jokes. We almost didn’t know what to do with ourselves. When we got home, we straightened up the house. My mom will watch the kids, but cleaning isn’t included. I guess that’s what we get from a free babysitter. So we cleaned up the house and went to bed. It was a great night out and we didn’t even stay out that late.

We’re already planning the next…Maybe a cruise? I can’t wait to tell my mom.