It’s so easy for life to get lost in the every day tasks, isn’t it? Cleaning, keeping everyone fed, laundry, errands, work, kid’s homework and outside playtime. Some friends and I have had a tradition called Champagne Thursdays. It’s a time in the middle of life’s chaos to stop, relax, and touch base with friends while sipping a glass of champagne. One day Trinity asked me “Mommy, when are we going to have Champagne Thursdays?” My first thought was, “When you’re 21, or 18 if we’re living overseas.” But then I started thinking about the point of Champagne Thursdays: stopping in the middle of life’s chaos to spend some time with friends. Do I stop in the middle of life’s chaos to spend time with my daughter? Helping her with homework while making dinner or putting together her school lunch doesn’t count. Chatting in the car on the way to her ballet class or the grocery store doesn’t count. Do I stop just to spend time with her?
That’s when I decided to start Fancy Pants Tuesdays. It almost always involves enjoying a fancy drink (usually juice mixed with 7-up). Then we paint our nails, or play with make-up, or curl our hair, and occasionally, do a little cooking project together. It’s our special time together without any “every day” distractions. Looking down the road I hope it’s a tradition we can continue in some form or another, so we always have time to touch base and connect.
On Trinity’s 6th birthday, my father-in-law relayed a story from Andy’s childhood. He was six and had fallen asleep in the car on the way to a family Christmas celebration. He said it suddenly hit him that they were 1/3 of the way through with their time with him already! At 18 he would be off to college and that parent-child relationship would change forever. One third of the way through with our time with her already?! But there’s so many things out in the world I want to prepare her for!
No parent can prepare their child for every thing they will encounter in life. We can’t make their decisions for them. (Much as I’m sure my parents wished they could at some points in my life!). But we can make sure we make ourselves available to them. To let them know they are worth setting aside all other distractions to spend time with. Right now our conversations are about playing Toilet Tag at recess (you crook your finger like a toilet handle when you’re frozen and someone has to push it down to unfreeze you…these are the things I learn!), and about how Trinity loves playing with Krissy at recess even though it means Railey (her previous ‘best friend’) doesn’t want to play with her anymore because she doesn’t want to play with Krissy. (I love that about my daughter! She loves to play with anyone but won’t let another child’s bossy tendencies dictate her own choices. I hope it bodes well for peer pressure in the future!)
Someday all too soon she’ll be dealing with much larger issues in life. I hope establishing Fancy Pants Tuesdays means she’ll continue to share her life with me. I’m not delusional. I know that teenagers don’t tell their parents everything. But I hope that if she does have something she wants to talk about, she’ll know I’m available to her. Fancy Pants Tuesdays may give way to coffee dates, afternoon tea dates, our own Champagne Thursdays, or even just making a point to have regular phone chats when she’s grown and moved….but whatever it turns into, I hope the tradition of setting aside time for each other becomes a lifetime habit. I am lucky enough to have amazing parents who have always been there for me when I needed them most. I hope some day my girls can say the same.