Today was our first day off school, and Mister Man and I got to enjoy some rare one on one time. Usually we’re running everywhere or I have both the wee ones or there are chores to be done. Today, the first day where we have no school, there wasn’t much on the docket. I had originally planned a pool day until I found out that the pool wasn’t open yet (what? WHAT?), which took that out of the running. Once we got a few of our minor chores out of the way – and some homemade cinnamon raisin bread made – our day was ours to enjoy as we pleased.
Normally, I would make the plans because I like organizing everything. But we so rarely have just one on one time that I wanted to give him a chance to decide what we wanted to do. I was only somewhat surprised when he told me that he wanted to head to the park.
We love going to the park and being outside on nice days. We can fly kites or play on the playground or go for hikes on the nearby trails. There’s always something to do, so we don’t fall into the “what now” trap. Best of all, it’s a park, so there are always tons of other kids there, even when the weather is only pretending to be nice. Mister Man doesn’t have a shy bone in his body, and he is easily able to create fun games with other kids on the playground, even when they’re far younger than he is.
No one. It’s 83 degrees and sunny, low humidity with a mild breeze in Chicago. We don’t get many days like this, yet the park was empty except for us. In a way, it was sort of creepy. I half expected Mister Man to sigh with disappointment and want to turn around as soon as he saw the empty parking lot. To my surprise, he didn’t. He was completely fine with hanging solo with me, and I have to admit that made my heart sing just a little bit.
Of course, we flew his kite, and it was a gorgeous day with a wide open field so we could let the string go all the way out and not worry about anything other than keeping it up there. It was a perfect kite flying day with the light breeze near the ground but an obviously stronger breeze as the kite went higher and higher. It was up there for so much longer than we usually are able to keep it aloft, and Mister Man was thrilled.
When he tired of that, we reeled the kite in and headed for the playground. I half expected him to look around one more time for kids and then come up with a new plan, but no. He played on the playground for a long time. He had a blast on the swings and even had me swinging with him. He went back and forth on the “skyride” (I’m sure there’s a name, but I have no idea what it is since it didn’t exist when I was a kid), something he’s usually loathe to do since Little Miss is able to stay on it far longer than he can, which frustrates him. This time, he had a great grip and played on it for a long time going back and forth repeatedly, something I wonder he might not have been able to do earlier only because he was afraid of failing in front of his sister and other kids.
Through the equipment, over and under and around he went. Throughout it all he had a blast. And then we really got to have some fun. “Mom, will you take some pictures of me?” he asked, in an oh so quiet voice. I only wished that I’d thought to bring my DSLR, but my phone takes some pretty decent photos, and it has great video capability, too. Instead of me taking the lead and posing him, I patiently waited for him to tell me when he was ready to start snapping away.
The poses he chose were unique and definitely not ones I might have come up with. Best of all, he had an absolute blast being in charge. I probably took over one hundred photos of him this afternoon as he played, telling me to turn this way then that. Move here and shoot this way.
Not all of them are keepers, of course, and the sun at 4pm is not anyone’s friend, but that isn’t what matters. We had so much fun with just the two of us where he had no fear of doing anything wrong or being told what to do. I loved the smiles I was seeing and the fun he was creating just for himself. I wasn’t sitting off to the side with my book like I usually do, and it was such a wonderful reminder of how much I enjoy spending time with my only son.
When he walked up to me when it was time to leave and head to TKD, he put his arm around me and hugged. “Mom,” he said, “today was awesome.”
My heart melted, and he is 100% correct. Today was awesome. It was so fun and relaxed and an all around enjoyable day with just the two of us “doing nothing” yet doing so much together. Oh how I love the lazy days of summer. And how I love my son.