Good food, good wine and beverages, good friends.
What a combination! Sometimes it's so hard to remember the pleasures of the company of other adults. Really, as a parent, you have to try to force yourself to make time to go out and enjoy the company of others. Going to each other's houses can be fun, but taking the kids with can be such a distraction. Just something about a few adults getting together, sharing stories of mutual and separate pasts, stories about our own parents, stories of our children's trials and tribulations (at least in the child's eyes) and topics of interest that just make the conversation silly or fun.
Another good combination to this equation is to explore other cultures through food. Our small gang (can I call it a gang? maybe) has so far visited an Indian, Thai, Mexican, and Spanish restaurant. We enjoy our tour of the world via our plate.
I remember when I first thought I was a grown up. The younger me who enjoyed a few club visits, late night parties lasting into the wee hours of the morning, some overseas travel, some dates, some extra schooling. It was fun, those are great memories.
But it's really nice to be at this point, kicking back, relaxing and enjoying some simple things. An interesting red Spanish wine, octopus and calamari (two items that I never thought I might really like), a warm cup of decaf coffee at a friend's house after the sitter is sent home and the kids are in bed, long, various conversations. Sure, I was home by 10:30 pm, but it was a great night.
I think these nights out remind us that we are cosmopolitan people. We are citizens of the world and hope for the best for all residents of the world, not just our small town. I think it reminds us to remember life beyond our small families and town and to enjoy the diversity that life has to offer.
Cheers to my friends!