I feel like I am constantly hearing about how I need to schedule date nights with my husband. I desperately want to have time for more dates with that man but it is a challenge. Somehow, in the midst of 'life', we are supposed to organize a night out, which means finding a sitter, finding time to get ready (shower, makeup, clothes), shoving all of the messes into various closets before sitter comes over, and managing to take care of the tiny humans at the same time. It's a huge undertaking, actually. Going out on a date involves so much work and planning that by the time the event begins I am ready to put on my yoga pants and curl up on the couch. But each and every time my husband and I make the effort, I am reminded of how worth it those date nights are. We reconnect and revisit the reasons we fell in love, or discover why we love each other more today than we did years ago, which gives us the energy and strength we need to do this parenting thing to the best of our ability.
But here's the thing: our kids need dates with us too.
They need one on one time to remind them that they are special and we love them. There is a very real learning curve when it comes to balancing life with more than one child and this weekend reminded me that those older siblings need special moments with their parents. They need moments that aren't revolving around the new younger sibling or filled with the word 'no' or 'be patient' or 'be a better listener'. And as parents, we need moments that remind us about these tender little hearts beating inside these sensitive little bodies that need hugs and kisses, giggles, snuggles, and gentle, loving reminders that they are special to you.
I took the time to have a date with the three year old the other night and, while we ate grilled cheese waffle sandwiches and drank chocolate horchata milk shakes on a blanket on the floor, something magical happened. My non-snuggler leaned his sweet head back and rested it on my lap. He gripped my knee with his little hand and just sat there for a while. It was as if he said thank you to me for not forgetting about him. He was thanking me for not always being frustrated and barking orders at him as I had been for much of the previous week. After what was, admittedly, one of the worst parenting weeks I've had, that little gesture put me back on track. And left me in a puddle on the floor.
Our partners need us, but so do our kids. And we need them. They're excellent at reminding us what is important and I can tell you this: it isn't that crayon scribble on the wall. Oh, no. It's singing Disney songs together in the car. It's silly kisses and belly laughs. And it's quiet snuggles that somehow, without words, tell us exactly what we need to know.