I got up early this morning. The house was quiet until our three cats, and one dog saw me. Meows and pitiful whines accompanied me to the kitchen. Apparently, our animals were on the edge of starvation. It’s just as well, I appeared.
Once I’d tossed food into each pet bowl, I filled the kettle. As I stood waiting for the water to boil, I heard a sound. My daughter Sophie was up. I placed her cup next to mine and made two cups of tea, and then carried them into the family room where I curled up on the sofa to check my mail.
Some time later, I realised Sophie hadn’t appeared. Had I made a mistake about her being up? Was she still in bed?
Two hours later:
“What happened to you this morning, Sophie?”
“I was awake in the night because of asthma. And then I slept in. I guess I was tired.”
Sophie and I quite often spend time together early in the morning, while everyone else is still asleep. We sip tea and chat, sharing ideas, enjoying each other’s company. I suppose we’re having one-on-one time.
Is spending time with just one child important? I think so, especially when there are lots of children in the family. It’s something I’ve always done. And when children leave home? And what if they’re married? Even then, we still have our one-on-one times.
My adult son Callum arrives in his super-charged car to take me to town to have coffee. We fly along the highway, and we’re chatting even before we reach the cafe: “What do you think, Mum? Doesn’t my engine sound good?”
Once we’re settled at a table with our coffee in front of us, I say, “How’s life, Callum? What have you been doing?” And soon my son is sharing the latest installment in his story of hopes and dreams.
I missed chatting with Sophie this morning. But I can always talk with her while we walk the dog this afternoon. That’s another good one-on-one time of day. As Nora charges along the bush tracks, her sniffy nose parallel to the ground, my 14-year-old daughter shares all her latest ideas. And I listen, adding a comment here and there.
We’ll need our umbrellas for today’s walk. It’s raining again. I don’t suppose Nora will want to go out in the wet. But once she’s trotting along a muddy track and jumping over puddles, sniffing the delicious earthy damp air, she’ll forget she wanted to stay at home. Sophie and I won’t even notice the rain. We’ll be too busy talking. So much to say.
So what do you think? Are one-on-one times important? Do you have them with each of your children? And if you do, where do you go and what do you do?
And do you have a dog that whines to come in out of the rain? Or a cat that meows each morning as if you haven’t fed him for days? I’d love to know!
I spoke with my adult daughter Imogen about one-on-one times.