J and I have a goal as parents to take each child out individually for some special one on one time at least once a year. This tradition in our home doesn’t start until they are five years old. There is no good reason for this, it’s just how it happened naturally for us. I think it is because it’s all about the preschoolers all day long. They are more needy and hoard our attention. They get to stay at home with me when the other kids are in school and they need me to lay down with them until they fall asleep at night. I manage to have incidental bonding time frequently when they are still babies or toddlers, whereas when the children are school age it feels more appropriate to get in the car and go somewhere with just mom or just dad to connect without distraction and to be intentional about it. That’s really how this whole thing got started.
When Z was in Kindergarten we did a mother son knight at Chick-fil-A, and mother son game night at his school.
Then the next year we did mother-son-knight again
and enjoyed a Mother’s Day tea at his school.
In second grade however neither event happened. At least if any mother events did happen I was unaware. One day I realized that we hadn’t had our one on one outing in over a year! He did stuff alone with his dad on more than one occasion, but I wanted my Z time!
So before his birthday or the beginning of 3rd grade I wanted to be sure we had a chance to get out and have some fun just the two of us. We had several grand ideas and nothing seemed to be working out. Which by the way is the reason for the meager goal of a one outing a year. Getting away is always easier said than done. Finally I decided we would just keep it really simple. We would eat out and take a trip to a frozen yogurt shop.
We both cleaned up for the occasion. I wore a dress and he had a button down shirt even though we weren’t going anywhere even remotely fancy. On the way to dinner he had the idea to quiz me on my times tables. We started making a game out of it. He would go through his homemade flash cards and shout out the problem. Then we would come up with an answer in our heads (I am really bad at multiplication or math in general by the way, so this is a challenge for me. However his new obsession has certainly sharpened my memory quite a bit). Once we had the answer in mind we would say Ready and then count to three and say the answer out loud at the same time. If all went well we would say the same thing in unison. If not then we’d laugh and turn the card over to see who was right.
When we got to the restaurant we decided to split a meal. Finally a date that will share a meal with me.
I encouraged him to place the order for us, he had his own money after all. He was a little hesitant, especially when she asked what name to put it under. I had to repeat his name for the worker to understand, but he did really good. When we sat down he gave me a surprise note he had written for me. After we ate he put the receipt in his pocket because he said “I want to show dad that it has my name on it.” What a delight to see my young son growing and maturing right before my eyes. I was so proud of him and I could tell he was beaming with pride too.
After we finished our meal I got a coffee and he got yogurt and we had our dessert on the patio at sunset. The sky was gorgeous. There was even a rainbow.
Before we drove home I pulled out my phone to type in a quick note. I have had a habit recently of typing memories into the notes app on my phone because I am becoming more and more sentimental the older I get. I always put the date and then the memory, but I couldn’t remember the date so I asked Z. He said it was the 9th, but I almost didn’t believe him. That would mean that Elle was turning 9 months old the next day. I said “The 9th!? Are you sure it’s the 9th already?” and he said “Yes I am sure it’s the 9th because my birthday is in 3 weeks and 4 days which is 25 days. It is the 9th.” I just stared at him like, for real? This whiz kid has left me flabbergasted with his random calculations yet again.
There are many well meaning mothering intentions that don’t go as planned and tomorrow I will give several examples, but for today I just wanted to share a simple precious evening that I will forever cherish.