My children are having a rather boring vacation week. I’ve been working all hours for the last couple of weeks, wedding planning is coming down to the wire (who told me the worry ended with shoe selection? THEY LIED), we’re still keeping the house clean ’round the clock in case anyone wants to stop by and buy it (would you like to buy it? it’s… house-y!) and it just isn’t a great time to schedule some Big Fun.
Add this to my already towering pile of mommy-guilt, I guess. So far the most exciting part of vacation week has been the Unlimited Popsicle clause. Basically, for $2.99 I’ve bought myself a pretty good chunk of uninterrupted work time. Because the only rule about popsicles is that you have to eat them OUTSIDE. Here, kids; have another one.
Today Chickadee got up at the crack of dawn and went to work with her dad. This left me with one Monkey-child. On the bright side, there was no arguing or tattling. On the other hand, there was a lot of “When will you be done with that?” and “I miss Chickie.” So I tried to work quickly this morning and by 1:00 I was able to push back from my desk and announce that I felt like going on a lunch date.
“Do you know anyone who would like to go out for lunch?” I asked him.
“Well, we could just have lunch HERE,” he pointed out.
“That’s very true,” I agreed. “But I feel like a treat. And I need a date. Will you be my date?”
“I can’t be your date!” He was shocked and horrified. “You’re marrying Otto! You’re not allowed dates!”
“Different kind of date, buddy,” I swept him up and covered his cheeks in kisses. “And besides,” I stopped to whisper in his ear, “you will always be my very best boy, and that means we can go on a date whenever we want to. Quality Mama and Monkey time!”
He giggled and squirmed out of my arms, running for his shoes.
After a brief discussion we settled on our local diner, and in the car on the way over Monkey debated the relative merits of grilled cheese vs. a hot dog. I told him to take his time and make sure he made the right decision.
A waitress in a poodle skirt led us to a corner booth, and I asked Monkey to decide which side I should sit on. He pointed to one bench and I slid in… and then he slid in beside me.
“Don’t you want to sit across from me, sweetie?”
“Nope! This is good,” he snuggled into my side and I was tousling his hair when he discovered that the pillar at the end of the booth was mirrored. Then we had to admire ourselves for a while. (“I look so cool with my hair like this!” It’s a shame he’s got such self-esteem issues.)
We ordered (grilled cheese and chocolate milk for him, coffee and a greek omelet for me) while I tried to remember if I have ever been out to eat with just Monkey. We don’t go out to eat much, anyway, but I don’t believe it’s ever been just him and me.
“So, Mama, what do you want to talk about?”
“Well I don’t know, what do YOU want to talk about? Read any good books lately?”
“YES!” he exclaimed. “I have been reading these books that Daddy got at the library. They’re about a boy and his dog! Like me and Puppy! And they’re called Henry and Mudge.”
“I see,” I said. “So, let me guess. The dog is named Henry, and the boy is named Mudge?”
“Mama! No, the other way ’round.”
“Ohhhhh! I’m sorry, I’m so silly. So the boy is named Mudge and the dog is named Henry. I see.”
“MAAAAAMAAAAA! Mudge would be a VERY SILLY NAME for a boy.”
“Really? Some people think Monkey is a very silly name for a boy, you know.”
Our drinks came, and we sipped while discussing Henry and Mudge’s adventures. Then we talked about whether or not you could wear a special suit and land on the sun, and when I said I didn’t think so, Monkey said what if the suit was made of ROCKS, because ROCKS DON’T MELT. Then we talked about volcanoes for a while.
Then our food came, and for a couple of minutes we ate, side by side.
“What if,” Monkey announced around a french fry, “you lived on Planet M? What would you have there?” We’ve played this game before.
“Well, we’d have mamas, of course. And marriages! And marshmallows. And monkeys. And plenty of milk, plus some macaroni.”
He nodded, pleased with my assessment. “I am going to Planet C,” he confided, “because that’s where they have the cookies.”
“What about Planet O?” I challenged. “That’s where you have to go for the Oreos!” He considered this, then explained that he would just travel through the galaxy visiting all the different planets and collecting the things that he wants. “Boy, you are always thinking,” I said in admiration. “You’ve got it all figured out.”
“I know,” he answered.
We finished up and I paid the bill (“Mama, what if you wrote a million dollars on that line when you signed the slip?” “Well, that would be a problem”), and we put Monkey’s leftovers into a styrofoam box to take home. “I think that’s everything. Ready to go?” He nodded and slid out of our seat.
We’d taken about four steps towards the exit when Monkey whirled around and put his hand on my arm.
“Mama, thank you for taking me out to lunch.” He moved in to hug me, right there in the middle of the diner.
“Oh, you’re—” my breath caught in my throat for a moment. “You’re very welcome, sweetheart. Thanks for being my date.”
He pulled back and slipped his hand into mine, leading me towards the door. “You’re welcome! I’m your best boy. And Chickie is your best girl. And Otto will be your best man, except that that’s someone else in a wedding, which is sort of weird. They should just call HIM the best man.”
I laughed. “You’re very smart, you know?”
“Let’s go to Target!” he replied.
Happy Love Thursday, everyone. May you open your eyes and truly experience the love already surrounding you, this week and always. It’s right there for the taking.
You are such an amazing mom, Mir. The way you interact with your children reminds me so much of the way my mom was with us — such patience, compassion, understanding and appreciation.
I certainly try to be like that, but I’m not nearly as patient.
When I was a kid (1979), my mother wrote a children’s book that was quite good (even nomimated for the Mark Twain Award for Children’s Literature). It’s for boys a little older than Monkey (10ish), and it’s no longer in print, but you can find it for a few bucks on eBay. It’s the story of a boy being raised by his divorced father, and his longing for a mother figure to call him in from playing at the end of each day–the way his friends’ moms do. Anyway, the way you interact with your kids, as I said, reminds me of her — and of the gentle, understanding feeling of that book. If you’re ever interested in reading it, I’ll give you the title. Just let me know.
In the meantime, keep doing what you’re doing. You inspire me.
you really do write the best love thursdays! thanks!
Thanks Mir for sharing the love. It makes me take pause when I refocus and try to remember the teenage angst currently abound in our home will not last forever. Popsicles as bribes do not last forever, but there are days when I would love to have The Princess back to Monkey’s age.
aw, that’s so cool. i love days like that. great love thursday entry, mir.
Love Thursday tears… of joy…:) again.
Sounds like a great date :-) Thank you once again for your beautiful, poignant writing.
Thank you so much for sharing. You brought tears to my eyes! Your family is very blessed.
You know, Mir, I’d never once wished for a little boy….till now. That was inspiring and sweet. Thank you.
See – you got love, a date, and time with your sweet boy. You may have found your location for your reception… Just take them all to the diner! It would be fun and you could admire yourselves in the mirror all night!
Happy Love Thursday, my dear.
I think I must have something in my eye…
My “dates” with my boys are some of the very best I’ve ever had. I hope you will enjoy many, many more.
My older son enjoyed Henry and Mudge as much as Monkey. The younger has yet to be introduced, but I’m sure he will enjoy them just as much.
Beautfully written, as usual. You’ve reminded me that I need to schedule a date with my “best big boy.” With 3, it’s hard, but I get all sorts of quality time with my “best little boy,” and I get some good girl time with their sister, but I think the closest I’ve come to a date with the oldest in the past month or so is driving him to birthday parties. Once you’re all settled in with Otto, you’ll have more opportunities for individual dates with the kids, don’t you think? Yet another way your life is going to be so amazing in a few short months! ;)
Thank you – Mir. With my six year old in school, it’s often hard to get quality time with just him and I, but you’ve reminded me to do that.
This is what love is all about! Thank you.
What a timely reminder. The only time either of my kids really get me to themselves is the little space of time between picking one up and dropping the other off. My kindergartner gets me for about 15 minutes in the afternoon, my preschooler for 15 minutes in the morning. My husband and I may have to take turns taking our little ones to lunch.
You’re such a great mommy.
Last night my kids were coloring and my 6yo son suddenly brought me a folded paper – a card, with hearts and flowers and two stick figures hugging and kissing each other, and the words “dear mom, I love you, love ” – these are the best days! This morning he made one for his little sister. So sweet!
My Monkey-child is a girl. And she is now 23. But whenever she is home, we like to either go on a girl’s movie night or out to lunch. I treasure the time that we gets to spend together……….and she would sooo love a booth with a mirror!
Excuse me while I snuggle my baby boy.
Darn it! I have *got* to remember to wear the waterproof mascara on Thursdays!
Your boy is brilliant. I can’t think of any better way to end a great date than by going to Target.
If I keep reading your site I will become a better mom, right? Cause, honey, you are totally awesome. I see what I have in store for me as my little boy grows up, and hope I can deal with the ups and downs as good as you do.
We love Henry and Mudge. LOVE THEM.
And I love Monkey. And Mir!
That is a LOVEly post.
What a wonderful story. It sounds like you’ve got a couple of really great kids on your hands. I won’t lie, you made me miss my lunch dates with my dad when I was in college and we worked a few blocks from each other in the summer time. We’d sit outside his store and eat PB&J sandwiches while laughing at the weird customers.
Don’t worry, before you know it, the wedding planning will be over and you’ll get to bask in the glory of your big day.
Oh, that was such a nice story! Thank you for sharing!
Why do I even bother applying makeup on Thursday’s?
Another lovely, well written, heartfelt, funny, and most of all Pretty post Mir.
You make me ache for my momma, and that is good. :)
I love that Monkey. He’s amazing. And makes me all teary.
That was beautiful, thank you.
Happy Love Thursday.
I love that you and Monkey have this relationship. That is awesome.
I also love that he proposed a trip to Target. I hope that my son does that (when he starts talking for real, that is).
DUDE! Target! You’re are SO bringing him up right!
So, so sweet. And some day when there is a Mrs. Monkey, she will be forever grateful that her mother in law raised a man who has manners and who knows that all good dates end with a trip to Target!
How wonderful that you make it a priority to schedule time with your son, no matter how busy you are (and you do have a lot on your plate right now!!).
I love mother-son lunch dates. I feel privileged that my boy, now 15, still lets me take him out for lunch. Monkey sounds like a dream date.
That was the sweetest story. I love going out on those lunch dates with my son, and I love Henry and Mudge, too. So much love!!
Can I just have Monkey? He is the best.
Planet O sounds good to me ;-)
Sounds like a precious Timeless experience!