I always told him that I would have these outings to share in our love and keep us connected amidst the rest of the family’s dynamics and community of support. I knew how deeply he needed this, and ultimately so did I. How often do we ever get to be away from the crowds of loved ones and our busy life schedule to simply bask in each other? How often do we ever let the pace slow down, dim all the other voices in our world, to simply listen to one another? I needed to stop and focus on my precious love and give him ALL of me, if only for an evening…
It was time to do just that.
I had a date with my 9-year-old son.
We went to the restaurant of his choice, and I let him order anything he wanted. He gulped down the huge plate of pasta as we played the ‘find all the characters in the picture’ game from his children’s menu. I asked him about his dreams, and the girls at school.
He claimed with utmost clarity, that he doesn’t like any girls but oh so many like him. I laughed, because he has told me so many stories about different girls that like him. I am honestly relieved he isn’t there yet. I told him that he will always be able to tell me anything in confidence, that he can trust me. He nodded, and I believe he believed me.
“You can always tell me anything, you know that don’t you?”
“Yeah, mom. I do.” He smiled knowingly and I was once again assured that my boy understood me. I will continue to open up the dialogue about those tender topics I want him to feel safe in sharing.
“So tell me more about what you want to be when you grow up?” I switched gears, as I didn’t want to force the conversation.
I listened as he poured out his thoughts about it all. He talked at length about him wanting to be in the army, a jet fighter to be exact. He has learned so much about these things, and it both baffles me and inspires me to see his intention and amazing ability to choose such a call. We talked about the dangers of this career and how I want my baby to be safe! He used to declare he would surely be a paratrooper, but it’s apparently really hard to pursue other than the Navy Seals. He has a passion for this stuff, and I take it all in as my baby is beginning to explore the limitless options in this world we live in. I see his sheer determination in everything he does, and I wonder if this will take flight in his future. I am in awe of this newly nine year old, and how he has a grasp on his dreams and his potential.
I secretly wish he would explore his first two dreams, he claimed years ago… I remember it vividly, from another date we had.
“Mom, who’s the best Christian in the world?”
“Gosh, honey- I’m not sure there is such a thing, but the first person that comes to mind is Billy Graham, because he spent his entire life reaching out to millions to spread God’s message.”
“Well, I want to be like him mom. Or a professional soccer player.”
“Good choices, babe. I like them both.”
Oh, the heart of a young boy with a faith of fire and a skilled foot.
After we filled our bellies silly, with breadsticks and pasta, my little man asked for cheesecake. I would never in a million years order this, not because of the calories, but because of the price. I didn’t flinch in the moment, but rather agreed with gusto that we surely will have the cheesecake my date wanted to seal off this extraordinary meal!
This beautiful work of delicious art came to the table, and we both dove in. After two spoonfuls my kid looked like he was going to be sick.
It was then that I realized the price of this delicacy, and cringed out loud at the appalling cost of something he had two bites of, and now I was left to eat the rest.
“Isn’t it worth it though mom?”
After a deep breath, I replied…
“It is worth every penny, for you.”
And as my boy always seems to do, he took it one step further…
“If it cost one hundred dollars, would it still be worth it?”
Oh, that boy.
“I’m afraid not, buddy. I’m afraid not.”
We both laughed, as he slid over to my side of the booth and snuggled into my arms holding his sore tummy. I nestled my growing boy closer in to me and breathed in his hair and his love. I looked around the restaurant and wanted everyone to witness to what I have in my arms, and in my life. I smiled with utter joy, as I tucked my boy into my lap tighter. We picked up the kid menu to finish our last game, and took our time in this place of ‘just us’. This moment lingered as it should.
Exactly as it should.
It was the best date night ever.
Do you have date nights with your kids? Our family does this regularly. My husband takes my daughter, and I take my son- or vice versa. It’s one of the best parenting decisions we have ever made. Our kids relish in it, and so do we.
By Chris Carter
Wife to Derek, Mom of two
SAHM (Stay at Home Mom)
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Blogger at The Mom Cafe