Friday nights were never anything particularly special when I was growing up. It was the night before all the cleaning began. (Saturday was cleaning day around our house.) The first time I remember Friday being special was when I was between 10-12 years old. My biggest sister was dating a guy from church who played on the church softball team. Their games were on Fridays. Our middle sister was also a teenager by that point and mostly went along to the games to hang out with all the other cool teens.
I was torn. I was allowed to go to the church softball game with my sisters, which would have made me totally cool. But, The Dukes of Hazzard came on at 7:00. What to do? Yes, I stayed home to watch the best show ever with my parents and we totally enjoyed it. Friday nights were terribly exciting!
When I got a little older, the junior high group at church would sometimes have lock-ins at church. A lock-in is when you stay all night at the church. You get pizza, play games, watch movies, eat snacks, and stay up all night making a terrible nuisance of yourself to the poor, tired adult sponsors. It was great fun, but I greatly suffered the next day. Other kids in the junior high group got to go home and sleep until noon after such an event. But not me. Oh no, I was greeted by a grumpy boss shoving a vacuum cleaner at me. OK, the boss was my oldest sister. We all vacuumed our church building on Saturdays for years. We made like $40 a week, which to an 8th grader back then was big money! There is no suffering like staying up all night only to fall asleep on a pew at 6:30 in the morning and then have to start vacuuming a few hours later. With a mean boss. And no union rep.
When I was 16, I was dating my (now) husband. When I started dating S. my parents said, "Be home by midnight." Obviously they liked him, because a midnight curfew had been unheard of before then. The thought of staying OUT until 10:00 or 12:00 is amazing to us now.
But while we were dating in high school, Friday nights were very busy. S. and I both had jobs and then had to go home and get ready. It took a full hour and 1/2 to shower, choose the right outfit, beg my mom to iron it, poof up my hair and bangs, apply makeup, and be ready to go. We had a lot of fun, but don't think it was all dinner and movies. We spent just as many nights sitting on the Flagship Pier on Galveston Island fishing, or playing basketball. Obviously I was in love.
My freshman year of college, Friday nights were spent driving home to see S. or waiting for him to drive up there to see me. (It was only an hour 1/2 away.) Actually, my classes let out at noon and that's when I usually hit the road. I missed him so badly all week and couldn't wait to get home for the weekend. Gas prices were not what they are now.
For the remainder of college, S. was in the Navy. These were the saddest Friday nights ever. I worked at a daycare in my college town and by the time I got off work at 5:30, mostly everyone was gone for the weekend. I rushed home as fast as I could because staying in that apartment by myself was unheard of. Even though home was sad too. I spent my time going places with my sisters, or friends, or maybe just writing letters to S. Oh, and sitting home waiting for his phone calls. This was before e-mail or cell phones people. The best technology we had was that little feature on your phone where you could have your calls ring at a friend's house. I did that a lot so I could still go do something and not miss S.'s call. Other weekends we all stayed up at college and had fun. I did have fun. But I missed him so much.
S. got out of the Navy six months after we were married. For months, maybe even years, my heart would just leap for joy when I rounded the corner and saw his truck there. Just having him home was so wonderful, I didn't care what we did. And now of course, we have kids. And we don't do much that most people would consider wonderful. But I know better.
Friday has always been one of my favorite nights. And now I get to share them with S. and 2 beautiful little girls.