My entire day, I’d had to figure things out on the fly. By the time my 10-year-old son was getting out of school, my schedule had changed half a dozen times. I had arranged for some friends to take my son to a nearby park for a birthday party, where my daughter and I would meet them after an impromptu doctor’s appointment.
After all that chaos, it was a relief to arrive at the park. It was our first day of beautiful spring weather, and lots of school families were at the park flying kites together. The change of pace from my busy day felt great. I relaxed and started talking with friends, checking in just once with my son, who also had several friends his age at the party.
I was taken aback at first. But we are at a party, I thought. Why on earth would we do it now? But I said, “Um. I guess. But give me 10 minutes.”
“Okay,” he said.
I talked some more with my friend. After a bit, my son came back and asked again. I could tell this was important to my son, so I said, “Sure.”
He and I played football together for 15 minutes, just the two of us in the midst of all of the other families. I really enjoy Special Time with my kids, and I was completely delighted by him and attentive to him. We had lots of fun chasing each other. When our 15 minutes ended, we prepared to leave. My son was relaxed and happy.
It wasn’t until the next day that I realized that he asked for Special Time during the birthday party because he was feeling alone. He and I usually have nice connection time after school and that didn’t happen at all that day. I was so distracted with my own busy day that I didn’t notice; I just assumed that all was well with him, since the weather was beautiful, we were at a birthday party, and everyone was playing.
I was so proud of him for having realized he wasn’t feeling well inside, and for knowing that he could come to me and ask for what he needed. He knew he could get a boost from Special Time to feel well and connected again.
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