There’s something magical about one-on-one outings with a child. With just the two of us, goal alignment is easy. We can see what he wants to see, lunch where he wants to lunch. There’s no negotiating between siblings about what to see next, how fast to walk, who gets to sit next to the window.
We go at his pace.
We see what he’d like to see, for as long as he’s interested.
We pause and listen to the musicians on the common, and to look at the water fountains or wait for a passing duckling to mosey on by.
No one is telling anyone to hurry up. I, the happily indulgent parent, stroll peacefully next to him answering questions about the whereabouts of the bridge and the depth of the pond water. No one interrupts us.
It’s glorious. I knew it would be.
I remember feeling a bittersweet loss of my one-on-one time with Will when Andrew was born. He and I did so much together when it was just the two of us. We went from grabbing the stroller and exploring the world together to being at home with a newborn. It was no longer easy to go to the grocery store between naps and feedings, let alone the aquarium.
Remembering those beautiful times with Will made me pause a moment when I thought about these few weeks with Andrew home and Will still in kindergarten.
The years are short.
When will I have another opportunity like this dropped in my lap to have one-on-one time with Andrew?
So yesterday we took the T to Boston and wandered the Common, had a picnic lunch and rode the swan boats.
Today we’re meeting Greg on his lunch break to go kayaking on the Charles.
Next week he’s in a day camp with friends at a preschool teacher’s house. I’ll be doubling down on my outstanding obligations because the following week we have plans to hit up the local Stamp museum, go into Harvard Square to visit the Curious George store, and maybe head over to the Boston Aquarium.
(We’ll get Will some special time in the next few weeks, too… perhaps with Dad while Andrew helps me fold all the laundry that’s piling up or heads with me to the grocery store.)
I’m glad I had the wherewithall to take a step back and recognize where I was in time, at a moment when my child is thrilled to do something special with me, and I have time to do it.
Because the years are short, and I’m lucky to be here now.