There are those days, those moments, where you just need to grab hold and take advantage. Sometimes they are not expected or planned. Today was one of those. My oldest was sick and spent the day home with his mother and by the end of the day he still wasn’t feeling on top of his game. This left an opportunity that we, as co-parents, seized upon. I picked up my youngest for a ‘night with dad’.
One on one time is so important in every relationship. It offers a chance to bond, to share, to get and give focused attention. In a romantic relationship it is critical and should be maintained even after the standard ‘dating’ phase is over. My younger me didn’t appreciate the value of “date night”, though I like being able to spend time with my partner I didn’t like it being scheduled and didn’t put the effort in to show her how much I appreciated her. I got caught in the ‘we are married, we just are’ mentality. Life became about us and friends, and us and our kids. We had time alone sure, but they weren’t “dates”. They weren’t dedicated time together.
With kids I find the same needs exist. They need to know they are important and special on an individual level. Often I find I am spending time with “the boys”. WE go on adventures. WE read. WE cuddle. In my case, with multiple children, that “we” often turns into a compromise where the individual desires can’t be fully expressed.
This was something my ex and I talked about back when we were still together. We felt that it was valuable to have a parent-child date night from time to time, as well as parent-children times. We had a lot of good ideas, some of which I hope to still employ: “Breakfast with Dad”, “Wilderness Weekend”, “Ice-cream special”, “Movie Release Opening Night”.
Last spring we made good on these plans and we, as co-parents, set aside two days where we would split the boys and they could spend one-on-one time with each parent. I took my oldest to see a rock concert, and my youngest and I shared an afternoon on a jet-ski. To this day they both talk about their ‘day with dad’ so I know it impacted them and I look forward to the chance to do it again.
Tonight, however, was just a one-on-one evening. A father-son night. A chance to bond over a Hot-Fudge Sunday. A chance to show dad a recent adventure and walk together through the park. A chance for the youngest to pick the tv show. And a chance for the youngest to read a bedtime story to his dad.
This night shall be treasured.