The Evolution of Saturday Nights
There’s just something special about Saturday nights. There’s an expectation hanging in the air, a feeling that something special might happen. Saturday nights are traditionally date nights, but my idea of what constitutes a date has evolved. My vision of a fun Saturday night has changed, and my Saturday night dates are now almost always my grandkids.
As a teenager growing up in Tulsa, Saturday nights were almost always about dates and friends. The typical Saturday meant a movie, pizza, and maybe a party. If I didn’t have a date, it meant slumber parties or a cruise on the strip. In the ’70s, Tulsa teenagers drove up and down Peoria, occasionally stopping at Pennington’s or Weber’s Root Beer if we could scrape up enough coins. The lucky ones with “cool cars” would park and let gawkers come admire their muscle cars. One of my best friends had a blue MG convertible, and we would cruise up and down Peoria with the top down, our long ’70s hair blowing in the wind. We weren’t bold enough to ever stop and actually talk to the boys, but we sure had fun seeing and being seen. College years were much the same but intensified since no curfews or parents existed in our world away from home.
Then the years of raising children arrived, and we transformed into the parents hosting the slumber parties and staying up late to ensure our teenagers were safely home before curfew. It was rare to get a free Saturday night then, and if a miracle occurred and both my kids were at a sleepover on the same night, I made the most of it by getting in bed with Ben and Jerry and a good book by 9 p.m. The wild Saturday nights of my youth were a distant memory, extinguished by the demands of motherhood.
Now we’re in the stage that’s the reward of the aged, grandparenthood! Saturday has become date night with the grandkids. We couldn’t be happier. They come over in the late afternoon, and we swim, watch movies, play games, and almost always eat pizza. Six-year-old Callister spends the night with us, extending the fun way into Sunday. Sylvia is two years old and attempts to spend the night, but usually, at about ten or eleven, she starts asking to call her daddy because she wants to go home. Fortunately, we live two blocks away, so that’s an easy fix.
Our Saturday night dates with the grandkids meet three generations of needs. For my daughter and her husband, it gives them a little break they can look forward to all week. Even if it’s only long enough to get some take-out Chinese food and watch a movie, it’s time without the kids. That’s essential for young couples!
For the grandkids, it provides something fun to look forward to and a routine they can count on. Grandparents are an important extra layer of security for kids, an extra helping of love. Grandparents and grandkids have a bond that is strong and special. We can have fun without worrying too much about rules. The grandkids get our focused attention and know they are loved beyond reason. Who doesn’t want to be loved irrationally and unconditionally?
My husband and I feel lucky to spend this kind of time with the grandkids. We know there will come a day when the grandkids no longer think it’s cool to spend Saturday nights with their grandparents (we’re building a pool with hopes of extending our coolness factor!) We must cherish these times because they will be gone in the blink of an eye. They won’t remember the night we took them to see Bluey and ate dinner downtown or the endless, hot afternoons at the neighborhood pool. What we hope they remember is a deep feeling of being loved. I feel sad that we may not live long enough to see them as adults, but that thought motivates me to create all the memories so they will carry the feelings throughout their lives.
Our Saturday nights have gone through many seasons, and all of them have been pretty great. However, I have to claim that this season of Saturday nights is the best. My Saturday night dates never drink too much or stand me up. They say sweet things to me, entertain me with funny words and actions, and appreciate my cookie-baking attempts. However, they do hog the bed, eat off my plate, and always stick me with the bill!!