I love having alone time with my kids...although not on weekends when about 2 feet of snow falls and I have no idea, nor any interest, in working the snow blower. Tim has been away since Thursday and we have eaten out every night, eaten in the living room watching tv, and have spent alot of time lounging on the couch. Not at all things that we typically do. I think when there are 3 "slackers" in the house, I feel responsible for keeping the progress moving. When there are only two slackers, and they are small, so they really only equal one person, it feels okay to relax a bit.
As much as I enjoy the time with both kids, what I have found really interesting is the individual time I have spent with each of the kids recently. I can attest to the fact that a night alone with your daughter is definitely different than a night alone with your son. Neither one is better than the other, just completely different. Oddly, when the three of us are together, we tend to want to do the same things. But, take one person out of the equation, and the experience is very different.
The boys went to a Providence College basketball one night recently and Mimi and I were giddy. The minute they left we snuggled on the couch and debated what to have for dinner. I had leftover soup and she had cheerios. We had some chocolate while we debated what we should have for dinner.
Then we snuggled up under blankets on the couch and toggled between hours of House Hunters, DVR'd episodes of Ellen, and Say Yes to the Dress. We chatted about Luke Bryan (he was on Ellen)...we both think he is cute. Let's just stop there for a minute. It's really weird when you start having conversations with your daughter on who you think is cute. She reminded me I was married....yeah, I know...and I took note of what her future husband is probably going to look like. We chatted about clothes she wants to buy, things going on with her friends, and how much more she thinks the cats love her than me (which is not true). We laughed so hard we cried, spoke in a lot of silly accents, and ate a dessert of raspberry sorbet drizzled with chocolate sauce.
Recently Jack and I had an opportunity to hang out together and, whenever I hang out with the kids individually, I make a point to let them do what they want. This time, dinner was steak and cheese subs...and apparently you should try and eat these as fast as you can, although I don't suggest that because of the inevitable heartburn. We ended up on the couch, not snuggled up, but on completely separate ends of the couch, watching sports. We talked about athletes I have never heard of, their contracts, injuries, and potential futures. It was like listening to a foreign language but I loved that Jack felt I understood what he was saying and/or didn't care that I had a glazed look in my eyes. He never stopped moving - I think he has Kramer's jimmy leg. He farts and burps loud and proud. His feet smell. In fact, we decided to see whose feet smelled worse. We both agreed it was the other who had the smelliest feet. And then all of a sudden he comes over and gives you a quick hug. Just when you are relishing the moment, he disappears to play basketball in his room for 20 minutes...which sounds like a herd of elephants coming through your ceiling. Then he comes downstairs again and the whole cycle starts all over again. On his way to bed, he said the night was "cool". I think that was good, right?
I have started to think about my kids getting older and turning into young adults. How much more time do I have of us snuggling on the couch, smelling each other's feet, and hugging it out? I'd like to think it will never end but I know it will. It's part of life. I can't remember when I have sniffed my mother's feet lately, or ever. Or the last time I snuggled with her on the couch. Of course, our relationship was different when I was little, and certainly now as an adult, but I think there is something to be said for the moments when you could just be a kid with your parents. As a child you can't appreciate it, but as an adult with your own children, you realize how precious those moments are.
It's little experiences like these that I remind myself that being present and living in the moment is the most important thing.