Tuesday, March 4, 2008

back on the dating scene, part 1

I finally decided to take some advice. It was high time I stepped up my game, so I decided to spend time with my boys individually, intentionally and, Lord willing, regularly. There were multiple motivators: no. 10 in this article; decaf coffee; and the disconnectedness I've felt from both of my sons.

Background on Avery: After going out for a meal with the family, he'll usually say something like, "It wasn't that good. I wish I would have gotten what Miles got." After buying some trinket at the store, he usually has buyers regret. He tends to be the kind of person who sees the glass half empty...even when it's full.

So, I took Avery to a bakery cafe that appears to have been decorated by a crafter from the 80s...lots of hook-and-loop crafts...but it's local and quaint. He doesn't really talk much. I was actually anxious while we were in the car on the way. What are we going to talk about? Is he going to be just as rude and disappointed and ungrateful as usual? On top of his typical behaviors, he's been his Daddy's son from the time he was 18 months when Brent taught him to swing a bat. He's not artsy, or chatty or expressive. He's thoughtful, quiet and enamored with sports. So, sometimes, it just feels awkward to be with my son who I love so deeply, because I struggle to know how to show him.

We got to the restaurant and at the entrance is a glass encasement of desserts. "Hey Aves, which one would you like?" He's delighted, yet frozen. Did I mention he's indecisive? (Probably because he's a first born with parents saying, "Are you sure?", like WAY too much.) We sit down, he looks at the menu and notices "Rice Krispy Treat". I second guess him as usual, but politely...and for good reason: "Well, Avery when I have a hard time deciding what to get at a restaurant, I try to pick something that I would never make at home." That helped. Waiter comes and escorts him to the case again. I notice that Avery has taken off his shoes. I let it go. He comes back. "Do you want to tell me or do you want it to be a surprise?" He answers, "Surprise. I also got ice cream." Okay, I didn't give clearance for ice cream, but I'm letting it go. I felt the Lord guiding me and causing me to be quiet and smile at him and let him just be. The beauty of a cream cheese-frosted, chocolated-glazed, chocolate cake arrives. His eyes widen. He's very careful to go halfsies with me. I'm surprised because it seems like his version of fair is getting at least 68% of anything good. He's quiet as usual and the only conversation I recall is about how the kids at school react when someone toots*. (For those of you dying to know, they hold their noses and say, "stinky". big surprise.)

The reason this is blog-worthy is not because the date was really amazing. He didn't tell me a secret. Nor did he want to discuss anything in particular. He didn't get to go to Chuck-e-Cheese or some indoor play area and run around or throw the football. This wasn't the first dessert he'd ever had, nor was it the most delectable.

It was just me and him and no agenda.

And as we were leaving he said,
"That was so much fun. I had a great time."

THAT'S why it's worth a post.
I'm learning how to love on my son in quiet and in action.

*note -- "Toots" is the language used in our home for passing gas. Avery went to school this year and learned the crass version, but didn't exactly hear it right. So, he came home from school and said, "I know the f-word. It's 'frnt'." No, I did not mis-type. He said what I just spelled. It's my favorite word. Still makes me laugh.


Molly said...

great post. great idea. abraham's dad used to rotate between children with a saturday lunch date, and i know those were special times for him, even if they just went to pizza hut and abraham stared at the TV on the wall (because they didn't have one at home and it was like a dream to get to watch one). it set up a good habit of getting together when there was no crisis to deal with, it was just what they did.

Jenny said...

I got tears in my eyes when you wrote what he said as you were leaving. Sweet. Too sweet.

PS. I saw the picture of Miles and Jeneva at the same time as I saw the words "dating scene". Took me a little while before I realized they were not intended together :)

keitha said...

dates are the best. thats where i get all my good scoop from the girls on their version of their life.

i love it that both of you enjoyed it so much. fabulous!

Anonymous said...

best post. memorable.

- brad cheetz