This past Saturday evening was an exciting one around my house. My husband and daughter headed off on a date to a daddy/daughter dance. They had gone last year as well, and my daughter was excited to go again this year. The dance included princesses, face painting and yummy Chick-Fil-A food.

My son and I decided that we weren’t going to be left out. While there were no mother/son events going on, we made our own date night. I must say it was even better than I thought it would be, and I had pretty high expectations!

The sweet photo my son took of the rose before he gave it to me.

The dates started with my husband arriving at the door with a bouquet of pink roses for our daughter. A moment later, my son entered with a single pink rose for me. He was so excited to give it to me. He even took the photograph on the left to commemorate the event. He told me he wanted a photo so I can always remember the rose. Be still my heart!

After we said good-bye to my husband and daughter, I asked my son what he wanted to do. Earlier in the week, we had tentatively planned to go somewhere to eat and then hit up Chick-Fil-A for ice cream and its play place. (My son doesn’t like Chick-Fil-A chicken. I don’t understand it, but I really am doing my best to parent him in spite of that!) But, as the day had gone on Saturday, my son decided he wanted to make dinner for me. The problem is that he’s 5, and his culinary skills are limited. That doesn’t even count the fact that he is quite a particular eater, which made it even harder for him to think of something to prepare.

Hoping to ease his mind, I told him I’d take him anywhere he wanted to eat. I mentioned a few of his favorite places. But he insisted he wanted to eat at home and really wanted peanut butter and crackers that he’d make himself. Just as I finished spooning peanut butter out onto his plate beside some crackers, his two neighborhood buddies came knocking on our back door pleading with him to come and play. He told them no because he was about to eat. I made myself some peanut butter and jelly crackers then we sat down to eat and chat.

Look at that cute face talking to me as he made his peanut butter and crackers!

I told my son that if he wanted to just stay home and play with his friends, that was fine with me. I explained that I wanted him to have a good evening, no matter what that meant. But he didn’t want to do that. We talked about what he really wanted to do. His school has a new playground that he really wanted to have a chance to play on and show me closer up. It’d been finished for a week, but every time we were there, it was just after school and crawling with kiddos. I stayed on the sidelines. I told him we’d wear our warm coats and just go. Then I suggested that maybe we could stop by the frozen yogurt place and get some fro-yo with all our favorite toppings. He was excited! (Not going to lie, I was, too!)

When his friends returned to ask him to play yet again as we were getting ready to leave, he told them no. Here’s what warmed my heart the most of the entire evening: he picked me. He doesn’t get to play with his neighborhood buddies all that often. But he picked me. I felt honored that he’d make such a choice, even before he knew there would be fro-yo with toppings involved.

We had such fun on the playground.

As we headed out for our adventures, he stopped me from opening my car door so he could open it for me. And then we went all over the new playground at school. It was a bit dirty thanks to some recent rain, but we explored every nook and cranny together. I climbed on things with him. We checked it all out, and I helped him try out a couple of things he’d been hesitant to do on his own. We had a great time that went much quicker than even I expected.

We headed off for fro-yo. He picked peanut butter yogurt (which was a shock because he is usually a vanilla guy) and opted for small amounts of various toppings. I chose chocolate yogurt and less variety of toppings, but my favorite ones. I then sprung an extra 25-cents so he could have a color changing spoon. He picked a blue one. The two of us smiled as we realized the blue turns purple when it’s cold, which was an appropriate combination since blue is his favorite color and purple is mine.

We sat at the counter table together and both got tickled at a song about gummy bears. As we ate and chatted, I looked at his sweet little face just as “The Time of Your Life” from the movie “A Bug’s Life” started playing. The lyrics stuck out to me: “This is the time of your life, so live it well.” I can’t think of a more appropriate sentiment for our evening. The entire time was just about my son and me. We enjoyed each other. I marveled at how big he is getting to be as a kindergartener. I laughed at his antics and listened to his stories. We really just enjoyed one another. It was good. It was the perfect low-key date, which are my favorite kind. We ended it at bedtime with me following his prayer with a prayer of my own thanking God for my son and how awesome of a kid he is.

This really is the time of my life. These days won’t last for long. I have a feeling that I’m going to blink a couple more times and my son will be taller than me, not wanting to hang out with his mom at the school playground and yogurt place. Even though my life isn’t perfect right now and has struggles, there are so many good things. While we plan big events and activities for the kids, it’s these simple moments that stay in my heart the most. They are the ones I want to hold on to and not let go. It is the time of my life, and I want to live it well!

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About the Author: Stacey A. Shannon

Stacey A. Shannon is a freelance journalist and blogger who has been published internationally. She's also a Christian, a wife and a mom of two school-aged children. She started Families with Grace in 2019 to encourage Christian moms as they create homes filled with grace, love and faith.

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