A couple of years ago before we welcomed our second daughter into the world, I made sure to get in as much time as possible with our oldest daughter, Harlan. She was only two at the time, but we did everything that two year olds love to do. We went to the park, the candy store, endless walks with her tricycle, and just spent those last bits of one-on-one time with her before her sister arrived.
I promised myself that when her sister arrived, I’d continue our dates together. I said the same thing about my youngest daughter when my son arrived nearly a year ago. But as much as I tried, life just seemed to get in the way. I’d spend one-on-one time with them, but it would be more about me than it was about them. I’d let Harlan run with me to the grocery store or Target. Avery, my youngest daughter, would help me plant flowers outside while my son was sleeping and Harlan was at school. The time we had alone together was nice and the girls loved it, but in the back of my mind I felt so selfish for integrating our dates by just bringing them along to help me narrow down my to-do list.
When I became a mom, I quickly realized that time was not on my side. There is just too much to get done and too little time in the day to do it. Now, as a mom of three, my to-do list seems never ending. I spend every day with my kids doing my duties as their mom — feed them, shuttle them to and from school, bathe them, etc. — but I’ve failed in letting them have that alone time with me.
A couple of weekends ago my husband asked Harlan if she wanted to go skiing. She’s five years old and is taking an interest in outdoor sports. She jumped on the opportunity and I told my husband I’d like to tag along too. My sister and her fiancée were staying with us for the weekend, so I enlisted their help to watch our youngest two while we took a day to go skiing.
On the car ride to the mountain, I just kept thinking how weird the car felt with only one child with us. But weird in a good way. I was so excited to spend this day with just the three of us. Harlan and I had so many conversations on the drive up. While we usually chat on our car rides, they are always interrupted by a crying baby or questions from Avery. This day, it was uninterrupted blissful chit chat.
We arrived at the ski lodge where Harlan took a quick ski lesson while my husband and I brushed up on our skills. After the lesson, she was confident enough to conquer the beginner slope. As we got onto the ski lift, I asked her how she liked skiing. “This is the best day ever, mom,” she replied. I smiled, because in my mind, I was thinking the same thing.
Harlan and I skied down that hill over a dozen times that day. We would ride up together on the ski lift and then she would hold onto my pole as we skied down together. We fell a handful of times and laughed each time.
During lunch that day, as she sat at the table with my husband and me, she couldn’t wipe the smile off of her face. She just kept telling us how much fun she was having and thanking us for bringing her. We were having just as much fun as she was and kept thanking her for coming with us.
We ended the day with a cup of hot chocolate before heading back home. As she got into her car seat, she asked us if we could come back tomorrow. My husband and I both laughed and promised her that we would bring her back soon.
Harlan fell asleep on the car ride home, and my husband and I just kept looking back at her and telling each other how awesome it was to spend that time with her. We reminisced about when she was younger and how proud we were of the young lady that she’s becoming. We couldn’t wipe the smiles off of our faces from the incredible day we had. It truly was perfect.
It’s so easy for me to get stuck in the day to day of parenting that I’d forgotten what it felt like to spend time with just one child, especially one that you can relate to and have conversations with. But this day and our special date together made me realize how important it is. Not only for my children, but for me. “Dating” my daughter helped me see my children in a different light and it opened my heart up to a new side of parenting. A side I should explore more often.
Image courtesy of Lauren JimesonMore On