My first daughter got to enjoy a glorious, if short, two years where she was the center of our lives. Everything revolved around her needs and desires. Then, shortly after her second birthday, we gave her a little sister. Being completely baby obsessed at the time she was thrilled with the gift, until she realized that she now had to share her mommy and daddy.
Lucky for us, their bond has flourished despite this slight hiccup in the road. All the same, alone time with mommy and daddy is still the most coveted of commodities. She lives for the mornings when I drop her little sister off first. The twenty minutes it takes me to drive her to school are like gold and she fills the entire time with fast paced chatter, cramming as much communication as possible into our short moment alone.
I know all too well that eventually the chatter slows and comes to a stop. When she’s a teen I’ll be begging her to talk to me. I also know that this is the ideal time to lay the foundation for a strong and open relationship with her older self — both for me and her father.
Our weeks are packed to the gills between school, daycare and work. When I first pondered the “one-on-one time” issue, I wanted to just shrug and keep the schedule as it stood, but in my gut I knew that dinner as a family a few times a week just wasn’t enough. So I devised a plan with my husband. Once every week or so, each of us will pick up a child and take her out to dinner — a date of sorts. The following date night we’d switch and take out the other child.
I like to close my eyes and imagine my teen daughters feeling close enough to me to come seek advice as they struggle through adolescence. Even more so I like to imagine them each sharing a close bond with their father. Hopefully my plan will set us on the path to that reality.