My family is small: my husband Marcus and I only have one child, Alex, our daughter. We’re a pretty tight-knit team, as well — it’s rare that we don’t do things as a threesome, everything from meals together to vacations together. Our family is little and cozy, and we like it this way.
This weekend, Marcus is participating in a 2-day, 150-mile bike race from our home town of Houston to Austin. On a whim, Alex and I decided that we would go ahead and drive up to Austin ahead of the race, spend the night, and then meet Marcus and drive him and his bike back to Houston. Our night in Austin would just be an intimate little mother-daughter road-trip getaway — although we obviously would’ve been alone together at home otherwise, this would be specifically an event designed for just the two of us. A girls’ road trip. No one else allowed.
We’re having a great time, but even more so, the experience has been eye-opening for me. In some ways, I feel like I’m getting to know her better, as we explore a city neither of us are particularly familiar with, all alone by ourselves. It makes me think that perhaps I should do this more often — not go away and stay in a hotel of course (that would get ridiculous), but just taking off for just the day, just the two of us, without her father, specifically for the purpose of alone time with her (as opposed to doing so merely because schedules have worked out this way). The experience has reminded me about a neighbour we used to have, who has three children, and she told me that she often scheduled “date nights” with each of her kids individually, specifically so she could spend time with each of them without the additional sibling- or other-parent-dynamic. She said it brought her closer to each of her kids, and she would learn things about each of them that might not have arisen in the company of other family members. At the time, I remember thinking that doing something similar with my daughter was unnecessary, because she’s an only child — but now, I’m not so sure. I’m also thinking perhaps Alex needs to spend time with her dad in a similar way as well, without me around.
I suspect I’m really late to this realization, and many of you might think it’s sad I’ve not done this sooner. So I’ll ask: do you ever have getaways with your kids completely alone and individually separate from their siblings and their other parent, whether it’s simply a date night, a day trip, or an actual vacation? And to be clear, I’m talking about creating an event that is specifically designed for just you and one child, independent of other siblings or parents, for no other purpose than alone-time. What are some of your favourite memories you’ve created by doing so?