Last Friday, I took the boy out for buttery noodles and a trip to the bookstore.
He was due some one-on-one time, so on Thursday night MC encouraged me to take him on a little date after work on Friday.
Before I put the kids in bed on Thursday, I typed up a note inviting Son on our special night out. His face lit up as I read it to him.
At the bottom of the invitation, I wrote:
Will you come? Yes or no?
Lucky for me, he said yes.
To hear MC tell it, he spent all day Friday telling anyone who would listen that he was going to the bookstore with his daddy that night. And I won’t water down the way I felt about it either – going out with my boy was the light at the end of the tunnel during a long day at work. I couldn’t wait.
I got home from work and MC brought him home from getting his hair cut at about the same time. I grabbed the Books-a-Million gift card he got for Christmas and asked him what he was craving for dinner.
“Buttery noodles!” he said.
We kissed all the girls goodbye and set off on our adventure for the night.
We ate spaghetti and looked at books and talked about a lot of things.
Sometime around 7 p.m., wandering through the aisles of the bookstore, I noticed he was getting tired. In a moment of epic foreshadowing, I heard five words that his wife is going to hear someday:
Can we go home now?
We went back home and told the girls all about our big adventure. Then I tucked the boy into his bed and read him the new book he picked out. After that, he fell asleep with his head resting in the bend of my elbow.
It was a great night. I’m still happy thinking about it now.
Here’s what I learned from that night:
My kids desire me. They like their Leapsters, the Wii, their art stuff, the huge cardboard box in our hallway, but they’d ditch it all in a heartbeat for time with me.
That desire is a limited-time opportunity. The day will come when some gadget, some show, some friend or some website is going to score one more affection point than I am in the heart of my child. The balance is going to tip someday, so I’ve got to soak up these moments now when they’re still all about their mommy and daddy.
I need to look inside my children. It’s amazing what I saw in my boy when I had him alone. It’s not that he was a different kid, but for a few hours he had the stage all to himself. He was relaxed and natural and a few degrees more mature than when we’re all together. I need to look inside my children to uncover and encourage their gifts and abilities.
Those are just three things I learned from a night out with my boy. There are plenty more, but I’ll stop there because I have mercy on your eyeballs.
If you haven’t had some one-on-one time with your kids in a while, let me encourage you to give it a shot this week. I think you’ll have a good time, and if your kids are anything like mine, they may even share their breadsticks with you.