“Mommy? Can I tell you a question?”
It was a hot afternoon on a Sunday in August. I turned the air down in my minivan so I could hear my 5-year-old daughter’s “question” . . . which I figured would actually be a statement since she normally prefaces a thought this way.
Our eyes met in the rearview mirror. “Yes, sweetie?” I asked.
She smiled and said, “I really love Brooklyn and Mommy time.”
My heart was immediately so full I could barely breathe, and I had to look away so she wouldn’t see that my eyes were filling with tears.
“Me too, Baby,” I managed to say. “Me too.”
That day, we were out doing back-to-school shopping since she was about to start kindergarten. Despite everything Covid-19 has taken away, I refused to let it destroy what I hope will become a fun annual tradition. I remember when I was a little girl how excited I got to go back-to-school shopping with my mom. I loved picking out my notebooks, checking off the list of school supplies, and trying on clothes. There was a sense of a new beginning, like something fresh and different was on the horizon. And it was a time that I could be with my mom, just me, and not have to share her with my (annoying) little brothers.
Fast-forward 20-something (okay, 30-something) years later, and I’m doing the same with my baby girl, although we’re both masked up as we cruise the aisles of Target.
She made this statement . . . question . . . to me when we were on the way home, after we had picked out her new backpack, lunchbox, a special outfit for the first day of school, and her kindergarten supplies. As we continued the drive home and she sang quietly in the backseat, I began thinking how rare these situations are, when I get to spend alone time with my children separately.
Brooklyn, my oldest, has obviously had the most opportunities for independent Mommy time. But her sisters, who are four and two, really haven’t experienced much independent time with me with the exception of the newborn stage. And they won’t remember that.
I mean, there’s the occasional doctor’s appointment, but that’s certainly not something they will look back on fondly. And I did spend about two hours alone with my youngest recently, when my husband took the other two to their softball practice.
But sadly, I can’t even remember the last time I spent uninterrupted solo time with my middle daughter. And that makes me feel pretty horrible. Don’t they all deserve more of me?
Now, I will say that the younger two probably haven’t realized that they’re missing out on anything by always being around their sisters. I think Brooklyn is just getting older and after having a dose of Mommy-and-Me time, she decided that’s something she wants more of.
And I do, too.
So that day, driving home, I decided I need to have designated “Mommy” time with each daughter, once a month. That could be picking one up early from daycare and going to the park, or letting one join me to grocery shop, or sneaking out with one to go get ice cream.
It might be a lofty goal, but we’ll see how it goes. After all, I think it’s important for each of them to have memories of time with Mom that make them smile.
We pulled into the driveway and started unloading our Target bags.
As we walked to the front door, Brooklyn said, “Let’s do that again soon, okay?”
I smiled at her, dropping the bags and squeezing her tight.
“Definitely,” I said.