With my hand on his leg and his hand on my daughter’s, I looked into my Daddy’s eyes the week he was here for Easter with tears and a heart bursting with joy and thanksgiving for the man who was sitting before my eyes. Momma was perusing through a few stores while the three of us stayed in the car while Kensie Jane grabbed some shut-eye. What better opportunity to take than the one presented in that very moment to tell each other how we feel about each other, how strong the love and esteem we have for each other flows through our veins?
One of the most distinct ways I envision my Daddy from my childhood is on our dates. One-on-one dates in the school cafeteria or our favorite restaurant in the mall that I can only remember what it looked like because it was one of my first memories and closed not too long after that. One-on-one dates in the car driving from Tucson to El Paso where we’d play, “Penny for a question” and could ask each other anything. Even Daddy/Daughter trips like the one where he swept me away to Atlanta. Both of my parents were intentional about and protective over our family time as a whole, but also made a huge effort to have heart-to-heart time with me and Mac individually as well.
So as I reflect back on parts of my childhood that were remarkable, things that I want to instill and give back to my own children, that one-on-one time is at the top of the list.
The closer we approached Kensington’s due date last July, the more determined I was about going on dates with my man-child. As we get ready for one of our dates tonight: the Chick-fil-A “Mother and Son Date Knight”, I wanted to take a moment to share some of our other dates we’ve been on during the last nine months.
Some are low-key and super easy, like making a frozen yogurt run. Food is always a hit with the boy. No, make that chocolate is always a hit!
To this day, Brennan still remembers each of our dates we’ve been on together. Quite often we pass by the dollar theater where the two of us saw The Dolphin Tale in December. And nearly every time we drive by it he’ll say, “That’s where we went on our date, Momma!” By the way, the Santa ring on my finger is one Brennan gave me from a cupcake he ate at school. I was the crazy momma who wore it all the time that month. This was the day after our silliness on the train, so of course he was all about the pouty face for the camera.
In February, I stole him away for Saturday morning breakfast at Mimi’s Café where he had Mickey Mouse pancakes and then ran errands with me. Yes, running errands together doesn’t sound like much of a date. But even that time together where he’s just with me makes him feel over-the-moon special…most of the time <grin>.
In March, our last cold day of the year…well, one of the only cold days of the year, I took Brennan to the play If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, based upon one of his favorite children’s books. We had the best time! We went downtown early to grab a bite at P.Terry Burgers, found a spot outside to eat, and then enjoyed a fantastic play. Of course the date wouldn’t be complete without a large chocolate chip cookie!
He’s still not quite big enough to sit in the chairs comfortably so I had the extra benefit of holding him on my lap the whole time!
It was just over three years ago when he and I went on our first official date together. Everything about him is bigger now. My heart, having been stretched to near bursting, is even more full toward him. He’s my action-packed boy, but still my buddy whose small hands reach for mine. His body has to shuffle on my lap to get comfortable, shifting to make more room because he’s slowly but inevitably going to be too big for it. His eyes still glisten at me, looking at me affectionately as his best girl.
As I sat in the car with my Daddy that morning, the gift of time, of one-on-one dates, is one of the things I told him I was most thankful for that he gave me as his little girl. So now I can be the one to try and give the gift of time, of special one-on-one moments that hopefully will be a blessed memory to my children.
So Brennan and Kensington, wanna go on a date?