Life with kids certainly limits the capacity for romantic moments. But given that romance is such a crucial piece of what it takes to sustain a marriage and thus create the foundation for a healthy family life, we have to work around those limits to keep the spark alive. That often means being creative about how to stay emotionally connected with your partner while juggling and managing the daily routines and challenges that tend to define parenting. If we don’t do this we not only risk losing the warmth and companionship that marriage once did and can still offer, the health and wholeness of the whole family stands to suffer. This is as much a reminder to myself as anything else. I can’t say I’m always the best at upholding this standard. However, this year for my wife’s birthday I think I got it right.
Now that we have a newborn baby at home, finding these romantic moments has been even more of a challenge. While we’re still managing our two kids, which are at least somewhat more self sufficient if only for the duration of a short date, getting a breastfeeding mother away from her newborn baby who she only sees after work during the week is a tall order. That’s where ChefXChange came in as the perfect solution. I discovered we could have a unique fine dining experience with the convenience of being at home without it being take out or our home cooking. I chose an Italian Chef on their website and figured I could recreate a romantic Italian bistro atmosphere. I’d be able to get that alone time special moment without having my wife needing to check on the baby every two minutes and not actually being present. It was perfect.
And literally every aspect of it was perfect. As it turned out the Chef I chose, Chef Vanessa Bayma was not only a fabulous chef and serious professional, she was a lovely person who was just as invested in making this a special occasion as I was. She worked with me to plan the evening and make everything perfect. While she prepped everything in our kitchen with mostly what we had on hand and the addition of her chef knives and all organic, locally and or internationally sourced food items, I was out in the garden setting up a romantic bistro atmosphere. I bought this inexpensive table from IKEA to ensure an intimate setting without having to look at each other across our 6 person dining table, decorated the patio with these lights, lit some candles and put out a vase of flowers. The rest of the charm was all in the fact that we were having a high quality gourmet meal prepared specially for us and delivered to our table by an award winning chef!
I told my wife to get dressed up and that we were going “out”. She seemed skeptical about how this would work, little did she know that “out” literally meant out of the door and not much further. When she saw the set up in our garden she was so surprised and simultaneously touched and relieved that I had set this up and not taken her far away from her baby after being gone from him all day at work. Without the drive and waiting to order we could get right down to business. We sat and chatted about how lovely this was while eating fresh baked Italian breads with imported olive oil that Chef Bayma brought from her private collection.
My wife still didn’t know about the chef in our kitchen. When Chef Bayma came out with two plates of fresh burrata w/ balsamic reduction and said “Happy Birthday”, my wife was astounded, perplexed and swooned all at once.
From then on we enjoyed our romantic time together feeling spoiled with course after course of special deliveries from the chef in our kitchen from fresh pesto pasta to Tuscan chicken to homemade tiramisu (the absolute best I’ve ever had by the way, thanks to Chef Bayma’s pastry chef; Chef Manuel Baima, who only coincidentally shares the same last name). It was probably one of, if not the, most memorable evenings I’ve ever had and I’m pretty sure my wife feels the same.
While some foodies may be attracted to the fantastic opportunity ChefXChange provides to have the ultimate culinary experience, for me the real value was in the opportunity it provided me in helping to sustain my marriage and family and make a gigantic deposit in my wife’s emotional bank account.