We hadn’t gone on an official date before, at least, not that I remember, just the two of us without a sister tagging along. Time alone is difficult and precious to come by, but Valentine’s Day afforded the perfect night for dates with Daddy and the girls and Mommy and her little man.
And a little man you were. I chuckled inside every time my little 4-year-old acted more like 40.
“Do you have enough gas?”
“Yes, sweetheart. We have a full tank.”
And off we drove to Zaxby’s, apparently a sacrifice on your part, your daddy bribing you with candy while I was in the bathroom. We had moved up a slight step from Burger King.
With each bite of my chicken finger, I couldn’t help but study your face. Your sweet smile, your perfect eyes and long lashes. You’re my little boy who isn’t quite as little, anymore.
And you were happy and hungry. Our date was prolonged as you requested more food, and we talked about preschool and your day as you wiped the grease off your fingers onto the booth in which you sat.
You helped yourself to three quarters in my wallet and bought bouncy balls out of the dispenser, one for you and your two sisters. And your night was made.
My night was made a little later.
It wasn’t when you came back to your seat and noticed Mommy was without a toy. You helped yourself to my money again and bought me a necklace, a silver star hanging on a silver string that took us 15 minutes to get out of the cheap, plastic ball in which it came. You eagerly waited the rest of the night (and part of the next day, too) to place that necklace in my jewelry box.
No, you made my night, this already perfect night, on the car ride home. After we crossed the parking lot, hand in hand, you climbed over a pile of fast food bags toward your booster seat.
“Why is Daddy’s car so messy?”
“I don’t know. I guess it just doesn’t bother him the way it does you and me.”
“Why does he just throw his stuff all over the floor?…I guess he must be really busy.”
“Mom, I don’t want icing on my birthday cake.”
I was caught off guard by the quick transition and the request to limit the sugar on your cake.
“I don’t want the icing–I don’t like it. You can just make me a cookie cake, but no icing.”
But I don’t like icing.
I took in your words and savored them, for they gave us another connection to share as mother and son. In some ways you are like me–you worry, and people hurting breaks your heart–but we have many differences. Yet, my little man who can smell sugar in the air, has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar more times than I can count, doesn’t like icing like his mommy, either.
And for some strange reason, my heart warmed as I tucked that little detail into the storerooms of my heart.
My memory isn’t very good, but I won’t forget our first date, at least now that I’ve written about it. And while your memory is amazing, one day this date might slip from your mind, as first loves and heartaches fill the spot where it once sat.
Yet, my hope is that as you go from birthday party to party, scraping icing off the top of your cake, something inside of you will tug at your heart, reminding you of your Mommy.
I’m joining Mama Kat for her Writer’s Workshop today.
And don’t forget to come back tomorrow! Have you looked up the definition for ‘forbearance,’ yet? That’s our topic for this week’s ‘Journeys.’ Click on the tab at the top of this page for more information.