Monday, January 18, 2010

A Boy's NIght

Believe it or not, it was actually The Engineer who came up with this idea. The guy who'd rather tinker with his inventions than anything else and to be honest, sometimes has to be gently reminded that his family would like some time with him, decided that the boys needed some one-on-one with each parent on a regular basis. We started Boys' Night about five years ago. The idea is that the boy (and of course we alternate boys) gets to decide the activity, and the parent goes along. The evening sometimes begins before dinner, if it's a designated dinner out night (one in three), or right after dinner (the dishes wait). And here's the kicker: no exceptions. No "just this week we have to skip boys' night because...". No rescheduling. We've made this a priority and it's in PEN on the schedule.

It's been fun to see what the boys pick. At first, all Yellow Boy wanted was miniature golf with Dad. So for about five weeks, all of the budget was spent on mini-golf at the mall. I can't even remember what Diamond and I did, or what Yellow Boy wanted with me. Dad was the one they craved, and I was the consolation. The activities have changed over the years, and the popularity of the parents ebbs and flows. I also had a period of being the popular one. Some nights that really stand out are playing mama bear and baby bear, in the snow, in the dark, on my hands and knees, with my six year old youngest son. Or taking my oldest shopping for his first pair of man pants for his first concert. Watching the first PG-13 movie when Diamond was eleven. Spending an entire evening just watching Yellow Boy play video games, never getting a turn. "No mom, all I want is for you to watch, that's all." Okey dokey then.

There's one special boys' night that stands out from all the others, where Diamond and I really bonded. And I didn't think it was going to go well at all. I'd been invited to a party. My kind of party. A mix and mingle kind of party, catered, for a dear friend who was moving. A friend that had been really close, the kind of friend where you'd sat in a circle and shared the most intimate struggles, worked hard together on seemingly impossible projects that had come together at the last minute with lots of stress but oh so much satisfaction, and then lost touch through the ebb and flow of the circumstances of life. A party I did NOT want to miss. But a party that was to take place on boys' night. SIGH. So I began a campaign of cajoling. "Diamond, wouldn't you like to go to a party with me?" Sure mom, when? During Thanksgiving vacation. Ok. But when he realized it was on boys' night, he changed his mind. But I wore him down. "Just for a little while. Please. We'll do what you want afterwards." So off we went. Immediately he wanted to leave. No one his age. But with food he liked. So I got ten more minutes. He stuck by my side. I wove him into the conversations. He started to have fun. And get more shrimp. And pretty soon he was having fun. So we stayed a bit more. And I started to relax. And he started to relax, and pretty soon he forgot that he wanted to leave. But of course, he's only twelve, and forty-five minutes of small talk and two cokes and he's DONE. And that was three times as long as I thought I was going to get, so off we go. Alas, no time to talk to my friend, but it was a compromise. And in the car he says, "Wow mom, you have nice friends, and that was fun! You can invite me to all your parties!" Nice. So away we go, shoot 'em up bang bang movie waiting for us at home. A bit more bonded, feeling closer.

After all, that's what a boy's night is for.


Amanda Lee said...

What a nice tradition! And I'm sure your friend understood. In fact, she probably enjoyed chatting with Diamond!

Tina said...

Well, that is the kind of friend she is. A true one.

Tina said...

Amanda @ House Revivals