After a grueling end-of-the quarter marathon of grading papers and calculating grades–and too many nights up well past midnight–taking a Personal Day on Friday to chaperone Oscar’s field trip to Smith’s Castle in North Kingstown seemed to be perfectly timed. His school needed drivers and I needed a day off. The bonus to all this, in addition to sleeping in well past my usual 5:30 AM alarm–was the opportunity to spend time with just Oscar and, then, just Edgar.
The field trip was great–informative and interactive, friendly and hand-on–perfect for this age group. I was able to watch Oscar among his peers, enjoy his attention to the tour, and see his confident smiles throughout the morning. Perhaps most affirming, though, was his care of our passengers–two girls and a boy–checking on them regularly, talking with them, making them laugh with his impressive rhyming skills, and holding their hands to and from the car “for safety.”
Students returned to school at lunchtime, and that left me with approximately two hours before pickup. My car drove–as if of its own volition–to Edgar’s daycare provider. When I posed a “lunch date” at Panera Bread, he was as giddy as I was at the thought. We gathered his things and headed to my first (and his second) lunch of the day. To be able to sit across the table from Edgar–just Edgar–and feast my eyes on everything he did and attend to every word he said was an opportunity I will be eager to replicate.
Having two (and three and four and five) children makes for a bustling household and lots and lots of laughter and companionship, but the challenge, of course, is to find time to spend with each child individually. Though we all treasure doing things “as a family,” it is clear that Oscar and Edgar enjoy the one-on-one time. And as their parents, we owe it to them–despite the challenges–to ensure that this happens as often as possible. Everyone deserves to occasionally be the center of someone’s universe, to not have to compete for anyone’s attention–and when we can make this happen for them, we absolutely will.