I routinely tell patients’ families that when they have their second child they should make time to take their first child out one-on-one for special time with one, or both, of their parents. I followed my own advice shortly after the birth of my daughter, but I realized recently that I should use this advice all of the time. Although my son and I spend many afternoons together while my daughter naps and my daughter and I spend time together while my son is at preschool, these one-on-one moments are routine, planned occurrences and often do not feel special. So one Tuesday when I needed to send both kids to school so I could do some work, I decided that I would pickup my son early and by himself. While we only spent an hour or so together before we retrieved his sister from daycare too, he was happy to have time alone and dedicated to him. In fact, I asked if he was happy that I picked him up early and he said, “I’m not happy, Mommy, I’m EXCITED!”.
For our afternoon outing together, we went to the Philadelphia Magic Gardens, an outdoor garden covered in mosaics. We have walked past this tourist attraction thousands of times and intended to go there a dozen times before, yet this was our first actual visit. My son was thrilled to be able to choose his own path in a maze of mirrors and pottery. The staff there tasked us with a scavenger hunt, but he went off on his own, yelling “look at the __” depending on whatever caught his eye. We looped the convoluted pathways and staircases multiple times looking for things he spotted on the first pass and wanted to revisit.
We took a few minutes to snuggle and take selfies. While I enjoyed the Magic Gardens, I spent most of my time staring at my son and relishing our precious time together. I was grateful that we had this opportunity together and I was excited about planning our next one.