July 7, 2011

Present Tense

When she was three, Mia and I got into the habit of going on dates. A Saturday or a Sunday would roll around, we'd pick a restaurant or an activity or both, and we'd go out and have fun. Just the two of us. The last six or so months have been busy - school, work, weekend activities - and we fell out of the habit. On Saturday we dusted it off.

It started with lunch. She wanted to go to the spicy noodle restaurant which is what our kids call a local Burmese place. Yes, amazingly our daughter who thinks that mac and cheese is exotic wanted Burmese. So we went. I watched, mouth open wide, as she ate two samosas (made, I must remind you, of carrots, potatoes and peas, three things she claims she loathes) which she topped with Thai chili sauce. She's always been a fan of noodles so when they came I was only slightly surprised to see her dig in. They were seasoned with saffron and curry after all.

Most amazing about the lunch was the fact that we just talked. She sat across from me and we talked. About all kinds of stuff. This girl sitting across the table from me wasn't the bent-legged little baby who wanted nothing to do with me for the first six months of life. Instead there was a girl with her own thoughts, her own likes and dislikes and her own understanding of the world she so desperately wanted to share. So she did.

After lunch we went and got ice cream. Then we got a new fish. Because - did I forget to mention - Dorothy IV croaked on Friday night, only a month after we lost Dorothy III. So, yes, we bought a new fish and she isn't dead yet. Fingers crossed.

I write this now not necessarily for you out there enjoying it with your morning coffee or evening glass of wine. No, this one is for me. Saturday was a perfect little day and I'd like to remind my future self who will inevitably scroll through all these entries at some distant point in time that it really was perfect. It's not a matter of time making it all seem more perfect than it was. It was wonderful in the present.

Posted by Chris at July 7, 2011 7:00 AM

Thanks for sharing this with us, Chris. Mia certainly is a special girl!

Posted by: Maribeth at July 7, 2011 7:50 AM

Enjoy re-reading this Future Chris. It made me smile, so it will surely make you smile again!

Posted by: Heather at July 7, 2011 8:16 AM

My dad used to take me out for these ice cream "dates" every once in a while. I still remember eating orange sherbet from a metal tulip bowl at Friendly's with my dad, chatting about my day. I only mention this to confirm that Mia will most likely remember these dates, 30 years in the future. And she'll probably smile to herself like I am right now. :)

Posted by: Susan at July 7, 2011 8:48 AM

I can't wait to be a parent. I hope my relationship with my children are as special as this!

Posted by: Mel at July 7, 2011 9:00 AM

Enjoy - and it only gets better as they continue to grow into these wonderful creatures evolving their own personalities, their own ideas and beliefs, apart from the mimickry of their parents they displayed as toddlers :)

My daughter is 24 now - and now that the childraising part of our relationship is over, we're like good friends - only better :)

Posted by: Julee at July 7, 2011 9:24 AM

That's so sweet!
Some of my fondest memories of my Dad where when it was just the two of us, out on a "date".

Posted by: bacioni at July 7, 2011 10:43 AM

I love the idea of parent/child "dates"....there's just something really special about having that one-on-one time.

Posted by: Heather at July 7, 2011 1:38 PM

I still try to get my Dad on "dates" here and there. We both love old cars, so when the car show comes to town we try to go, just the two of us. Some of my best memories are of just me and my dad at the movies, the driving range, the car show...just us. Of course, I have weekends and trips with my Mom which are just as special. There's just something about the one-on-one time.

Mia will remember these days all of her life. Thank you for taking the time to really connect with your daughter! You are one helluva Dad!!

Posted by: Krush at July 7, 2011 2:39 PM

Yay for you and Mia. What a special thing to be able to spend such quality daddy/daughter time with her. My week with only one kid is almost over, and we've had fun too - she's 8, so we've done some chatting about school, boys, etc. (Don't tell her dad about the "boy" thing...) I am SO looking forward to my two other little girls coming home on Sunday, but I am SO having fun with my "big girl".

I used to have "dates" with my dad once in a while... not weekly, or even monthly, but I STILL remember them - how absolutely wonderful they were. I wish he was still around to have dates with. Good for you, and good for Mia.

Posted by: Kim at July 7, 2011 7:15 PM

i have great memories of my dad and i going to the beach super early on saturday mornings before anyone else was awake. we'd get breakfast and look for (and sometimes find) sunken boats half covered in the sand if we got there when the tides were just right. she'll remember your times together, too. and i think you're lucky to have each other (she's lucky to have such an articulate, thoughtful dad).

Posted by: kati at July 9, 2011 12:33 AM

Sounds lovely. And as a daughter, I can tell you: some of my favorite memories of childhood circle around habits my dad and I created together.

Posted by: pithypants at July 10, 2011 8:24 AM

Wonderful. It's so important to enjoy these times, because, as you know, they won't stay the same for long. It's wonderful to watch children grow up - especially your own children.

Posted by: cassie-b at July 10, 2011 10:05 AM

One-on-one time with a parent is one of the most special treats there is when you're a kid. I remember those times with my own parents very clearly. You quit feeling like a kid, and instead get a taste of adulthood because your parent treats you like one.

Posted by: Casey at July 10, 2011 2:34 PM