Becoming Donna Reed

Season 1: Episode 1 – Weekend Trip


We meet the Stone family. Father Alex is a pediatrician; his wife, Donna, is a stay-at-home mom; Mary is the teenage daughter; and Jeff is the tween-age son. In this episode the children complain to Donna about how little time they have with their father; his job keeps him very busy. We see Alex running around and grabbing a minute with the kids and Donna when he can. Donna decides they need a weekend away and convinces a doctor-friend of the family to take care of Alex’s patients for the weekend so they can all go skiing. Donna tells the kids and they are ecstatic. Then she tells Alex and he says he has other obligations that prevent him from getting away. It is up to Donna to tell the kids and she can’t bare it. Instead she makes a series of gentle, tactical maneuvers to clear the way for the family to go. Alex is aware of her actions but doesn’t seem to mind. The family is ready to leave on their well deserved break when Jeff shows the signs of chicken pox. Mary goes skiing with a friend and Jeff is upstairs getting better. Alex comes down from playing chess with his son and Donna meets him a the bottom of the stairs. She convinces him to not let anyone know he is around so they  still have the weekend to themselves. Donna and Alex curl up in their living room by the fire and prepare for some serious canoodling. (See episode here)


Make time to romance your spouse.


I confess it had been a long time since I really sat down and watched an episode of Donna Reed and I must tell you the show is visionary. The Stones wind up staying at home for their getaway, what does that sound like? Yes, fifty years ago the writers of The Donna Reed Show predicted the stay-cation. I knew that I would learn a lot through this undertaking, but I had no idea of the show’s ability to predict future trends. This is like discovering lost volumes by Nostradamus.

The lesson is so simple and yet so important. If we want to keep the romance in our relationship with our partners then we need to make time for that romance occur. I think sometimes we schedule ourselves out of love. We are running around doing all these things that make us crazy and forget to take the time to just sit with our loved one, stare at a fire or into their eyes, and talk. I like that the episode ends with Donna and Alex alone. He spent time with his son playing chess but now it is time for one-on-one time with Donna. I see many of my friends with children who, understandably, devote all their energy and time to their kids. I hope they take these moments too. I suspect that parents who stay in love create happier families. My parents are still googley-eyed over one another after thirty-seven years of marriage and I really believe that their example taught me how to love my husband. I thank them for this. Also my mother is named Donna – coincidence or destiny?

Plan of Action

I will make sure that when my husband comes home we spend some pixel-free time talking. I won’t search for jobs and he’ll have to wait a bit to catch-up on email.  I don’t have a fireplace, but I do have wine. That should help recreate that warm and cozy atmosphere of Donna’s living room. I could light some candles too. The hubby often continues his workday at home, but even a half hour set aside to reconnect seems like a really good idea. Thank you, Donna, for lesson one.