Today I am taking my 10 year old “baby” boy for his Double Digit trip to Vancouver, BC – to be tourists, to hang out one-on-one, and to enjoy this fleeting time in our lives together.
I have had the honour and opportunity to take each of my children on such a trip. But on approaching this my fourth venture, I admit to lacking in the enthusiasm and excitement I had when embarked on my first trip five years ago. As much as I love the Aquarium and Science World – going every 12 – 15 months over the past five years feels a little repetitive.
But then one of my lovely sisters-in-law said, “Hey, this is the most time you will have spent exclusively with Solomon.”
“Uh, yah, I guess so.”
Now, I am sure this was true of my middle two daughters as well – but what did strike me was the thought that this might possibly be the most time my son and I will ever spend together, exclusively. I am not guaranteed more time because he is the youngest, the ages of my children are so close that I don’t know what the future will bring.
I feel safe in assuming that finding exclusive time for parent-child interactions is a common situation when a family has more than usual amount of children. David and I have tried dates with the kids – but it can get overwhelming and expensive to continually take the kids out individually. I always end up in the endless pit of make-up time with one child or the other and then I throw out the plan entirely due to frustration, and perhaps guilt.
This can make me sad if I overthink it – I certainly imagined spending much more time cultivating individual relationships with my children especially because they are home educated. Sometimes, often times, it is easier to approach them as a pack. I recognize their differences, their unique personalities, and hopefully it is safe to say that I respond to them individually as needed. But I miss taking the time to luxuriate in the knowing and experiencing of them individually.
I have come to terms with not being able to be their all in everything – I am certainly not, nor do I believe I am intended to be. I do however wish to be more than the rough architect of their lives. But I am getting way ahead of myself there – I must allow this time to wash over us and let the next come as it may.
Today, I am taking my son on a trip. Today, and tomorrow and the day after that, and even most of the day after that – I will have this opportunity to spend time exclusively with this child while he is still this age. It will be our time and I will revel in knowing we got to be together. Just as I relish the time I spent with each of my girls.
- A big hug, kiss, and thank-you to my husband who graciously allows me to do these things and also to my best friend who runs a fantastic “bed and breakfast” almost exclusively for me.