“What are we going to do today?” he asked, both with excitement and curiosity.
“What about the museum?” I asked in reply.
“Yes! The museum! Let’s do that today” he replied with such enthusiasm that I found myself eager to go.
The night before I had mentioned it to my husband, suggesting it might be a good place to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon. He wasn’t as excited. To him, it didn’t sound like fun at all. Driving downtown, finding parking, dealing with crowds – none of it sounded like fun.
“I don’t want to go to the museummmmmm” my daughter whined, and I found myself disappointed.
We tend to do things together, the four of us. We don’t often separate and do our own thing so it rarely occurs to me to suggest days apart.
On this day, however, I played with the idea of a museum alone with my seven year old and it only took but a second for me to realize it was the best idea I’d had all day.
It’s not often that my son and I have one on one time together. He’s so active in sports and his Dad is often the coach so they spend a lot of alone time together, leaving my daughter and I tons of girl bonding time but not as much mother and son time.
Spending time alone with each of my children is important. It’s hard to focus solely on one child when we are all together. My kids have a habit of talking over each other, their little voices becoming louder and more high pitched with each word in the hopes on being the one to gain my attention. They are often quite near a scream when I have to shush them both and convince them to speak one at a time. Each of them want to show me something or tell me something, most often at the same time. They each want something different for lunch or want to go to different events. Most of the time my kids are quite good at compromising but negotiating is definitely one of the skills that I have mastered in the years since I have become a parent.
Alone time means I can focus on just one child, with no interruptions.
We spent an entire afternoon wandering each floor of the museum, hand in hand. I was in heaven. We chatted. I am amazed at how much a seven year old has to say. He’s a chatter, like his mother, and I love to hear his stories.
I learn so much about him when it’s just the two of us. He blew me away with his knowledge of mammals as he explained to me why bears climb trees and told me about the research he had done for his grade 2 project on Kangaroos.
He learns about me, too, when he has the time and space to ask me about myself. He was surprised to learn that I lived in an apartment all by myself before I met his father. He asked me so many questions about it as we drove right by where I used to live and I pointed out the subway that I used to take to get to school. “I thought you lived with Nana and Grandad before you met Daddy” he told me sounding a little impressed. “I did…when I was little” and I continued to explain how I came about in my own apartment and why it was so important to me then and something I’m proud of now.
Spending quality time with my son, just the two of us, reminds me of who he is. In the everyday chaos of life it’s easy to lose that. In the hustle to soccer practice and busy weeknight dinners. In the hectic evening routine of homework, dinner, bath and bedtime it’s easy to forget my kids as individuals, instead seeing them as a team. Yet in our quiet time alone I focus on all of the things that make him so wonderful. He’s kind and polite; always saying please and thank you. He’s smart and inquisitive. He loves to learn and to read. He is so funny and we spend a lot of time laughing together. He is caring and playful.
He is fantastic company.
I like him.
Even if he wasn’t my son, I would want to spend time with him.
One of the most amazing things about watching your children grow is learning who they are.
I love that my family does so much together. Being a tight-knit family that does everything together is all that I had imagined of my life with children and it makes my kids happy. They look forward to our movie nights, bike rides, family swims and our long walks in the crisp autumn air. It warms me up inside to know that they want to spend time with us.
Yet having one-on-one time with each of my children is both important and necessary. It feeds a different part of their soul. It’s in those moments alone that I can take the time to see right into the depth of them.
That rainy afternoon, walking hand-in-hand through a museum with my son, reminded me how alike we are. We, as humans, are always evolving, growing and changing. Taking time to reconnect is such a good thing for your relationship.
We left the museum when the rain had slowed and the steam was rising off the pavement as we walked to our car, still holding hands, buzzing about our favourite exhibits. We drove home almost glowing, knowing that family dinner that night would be full of stories.
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