Wednesday, May 25, 2011

31 Days Closer to Your Kids: Date Them

Shelly Final

Years ago—a lot of years ago now—my husband was struggling with not feeling close to our daughters. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but he felt like he was missing out on the little things in their life. Oh sure, they showed him their report cards and he knew the names of their teachers, but the little things—who’s your best friend right now? What do you like about school? What do you think about ______?—the really important things seemed to be missing.

Those kinds of conversations can’t be forced, but they will come about over time. He just needed that time with them.

Funny thing is, though, that when I’m thrown into the mix, the dynamic is different. I will fill in the blanks rather than letting the girls do it for themselves. I will tell him what’s going on in their lives rather than letting them tell him. I needed to get out of the picture for a while so that the girls could develop their own relationship with their dad.

And that’s how Saturday Breakfasts were born.

That was probably well over five years ago, and still today—last Saturday, in fact—B and the girls go out for breakfast together every Saturday. The girls aren’t forced to go (he understands that occasionally a teenager needs her sleep); he will take whoever is ready at 9:00 a.m. They walk about three blocks to a greasy little diner near our home, no matter the weather. They always walk.

And they always go to the same place. The owner and the waitress know them now. (They probably think these poor girls don’t have a mother!) And from what I’m told, they usually order the same thing every time.

Everyone in our home loves this Saturday morning tradition—even me. I love that my girls are relating to their dad without me there. I love that they will someday look back and remember Saturday morning breakfasts with their dad. And I love having my coffee and a little time alone on Saturday mornings.

It works for us.

So tell me, how do you date your kids? Do you have any traditions that you’ve created over the years that allow you time with your kids?

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Don't forget to go visit my friends:

31 Days Closer to Health, Wellness, and Bathing Suit Season
31 Days Closer to a Cuter You
31 Days Closer to Hearing God's Voice
31 Days Closer to the Life You Always Wanted
31 Days Closer to a New Home

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  1. Shelly, You have such wise advice!! Our pastor took his sons to eat cheesy fries and giant cokes once a week when they were teens. This is a great idea!

  2. Neat thought. My husbands "dates" my kids but I don't ...and I need to do this! But right now I feel like more thing I need to do! So I will stick this in my head and let it roll around for a while. Enjoyed your blog!

  3. Ohhhh... my heart just melted... awesome! They will never forget those Saturday mornings!!!! Your husband has totally nailed it... his times with them are consistent, easy to accomplish and not overly-ambitious.

    I have a middle son who is very quiet. Our dates are flea market and estate sale shopping... usually followed by lunch together. When he was home for a week between his sophomore year of college and summer school, we took a 17 mile bike ride together. It turned into a bit of an adventure when we got lost... good memories. After our ride, we had such a good time sitting outside our neighborhood yougart shop talking and eating yougart together.

    "Dates" become different when they grow up and leave... but I suspect that the Saturday morning breakfast will be a tradition that will continue for years to come. Wow.

    @Susan What Shelly's husband does is not over-the-top or elaborate. It is simply including his kids into a regular routine of life. I think our culture makes us think we have to create "events" (draining and burdensome) when just "doing life together" is all our kids want from us parents (freeing and energizing).

  4. Oh Hillcrest! You get it! And you're right . . . it's not burdensome, it's freeing because it doesn't take a lot of time or effort. Just intentional "hanging out" time.

    Those middle ones are the quiet ones, aren't they? ;) Wait. I was in the middle, and I'm not that quiet. Hmmm.