Tonight, Henry and I went on a date. It was just the two of us, something that hasn’t happened in a long enough time that I can’t remember the last time it DID happen. As we walked hand in hand into Wal-Mart (because where else do you go on a date with a six year old), I said to him, “Henry, this is so fun! I don’t remember the last time it was just the two of us!”
He immediately replied, “I do. It was just after school started. We took Sam and Lucy to their meeting at church and then we went to the store, just you and me.” I realized, in that moment, how important those times are–time with just me and Henry. Or just me and any of the children, for that matter. While that outing to the store just after school started got lost in a sea of other outings and meetings and things to do in MY mind, for Henry, it was memorable enough that months later he was able to recall when, and why it happened. I mean, the kid has a memory like a steel trap, but also it meant something to him–to spend time with me without five other children dividing my attention.
After we went to the store we stopped by Dairy Queen to get Henry an ice cream cone. It was hilarious watching him try to eat the thing because it’s hard to eat ice cream when you CANNOT STOP TALKING. He talked about everything. He talked about school. About his friends. And my favorite conversation of the night:
“Mom, can you tell me if this is a real job? Cause I think I want it to be my job. A singer?”
“It is a real job, Hen. Is that what you want to do when you grow up?”
“Yeah, I want to play piano, and the drums, and the guitar, and sing. Cause I can pretty much sing the entire song Radioactive, so I could be like that.”
Be still my ever lovin Mama heart.
The point of the story is that time spent with your children, one on one, is the best time ever. I’ve found that when my vision starts to get cloudy and I find myself worrying more about one particular child, or not getting along with one or the other, if I can get them away from the crowd, from the busyness of everyday life–if I can look them in the eye and ask them questions and listen with undivided attention, things get better. Someone told me once when you feel like pushing your kids away, that’s the time to hold them closer.
And also, when you listen, children say the most amazing, revealing, incredibly adorable and hilarious things.
Take this final conversation. You’ll love it, I promise.
First, a twenty second back story: Henry’s best friend is the daughter of one of my dearest friends. They have been talking about marriage since age 3. I’m not even kidding. They are open and honest and completely matter of fact when they discuss their plans. Okay. Now the conversation:
“So Henry, talk to me about Aislynne. Did you guys ever see each other during the school year?”
“We waved in the hallway every time we saw each other, but that’s pretty much it.”
“Maybe you’ll be in the same class this year. That would be fun.”
“Yeah, but sometimes I get a little worried cause Aislynne is five months older than me and maybe she’ll grow up and marry someone else before I have the chance.”
OH. MY. WORD. (Seriously, my heart got all twitchy AGAIN just writing about what he said.)
I assured Henry that five months was hardly enough of an age gap to make a difference and if he and Aislynne were meant to be, he didn’t need to worry. And then my heart turned to mush and I wanted to scoop him into my arms and squeeze him right there in the Dairy Queen parking lot. Except, there was the whole chocolate ice cream cone thing, and that might have gotten messy.
My profound thought of the day? Talk to your kids. And also eat ice cream.