A Night Out with the Boys

My boys are growing up fast.  I remember when I used to tell people how many weeks old they were when they were babies.  Now I find that I am counting the summers that we have left to camp out and take trips to Disneyland before Mason goes off to college.  Very soon I will be able to count those summers on one hand.  Luke won’t be far behind.

I have noticed that as the boys get older they need different things.  Mason is quiet and reserved while Luke is loud and playful.  Luke likes to test the lines and Mason respects authority (unless it’s me and then all bets are off).   Despite their different personalities, one thing I have found is that they both need individual time with Chad and I.

We have always been a close family and we’ve had to work very hard to give our kids the things they need and want, so we’ve rarely used babysitters outside of work, always taking our kids along on all our adventures whether it be trying out a new bistro on the weekend or taking a trip far away.  As most parents know, those can be hectic outings full of breaking up sibling rivalries or trying to make sure everyone is having fun.   We wouldn’t trade those times, but we’ve discovered that sitting down one on one with your kid is a thing not to be missed.

I have started taking the kids on little dates on a weeknight.  It usually only lasts an hour or so, but during those moments I learn more about them than I normally do  in a week’s time.  My kids have been going to Barnes & Noble since they were tiny and that’s where they usually choose to go for our dates.

We start out in the cafe, sipping tall hot chocolates or vanilla steamers.


Luke isn’t happy unless he orders a dessert the size of his head.


I make a conscious effort  not to say a whole lot during these dates.  I just listen.  I ask enough just to keep them talking.  When they get lost in conversation sometimes they don’t notice when I reach over for a little hand holding.


It’s here in the Barnes & Noble Cafe, over a Starbucks and a pastry that I really learned what a history buff Mason is.  I listen as he tells in immaculate detail and with surprising accuracy the tales of battles won and lost, the building and falling of great cities, and the legacy of the Greek mythological gods.  He also loves the classics.  Just last week I gave that kid a choice of any book in the store and he chose Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.  It amazed the heck out of me, I mean, there were books about his favorite video games lining the shelves, but he said he wanted to work his way through the great writings he learned of in school.

Luke on the other hand, hasn’t quite grasped a love for books.  There’s still time yet, but for now he’s too busy being a computer genius.  I walk him over to the tablets and we sit on cushy stools while he plays Fruit Ninja.  Despite my temptation to leaf through a magazine or pick out a new novel, I watch over his shoulder taking note of the points he’s earned and giving due praise when he beats another level.


He asked me to play at first but when he realized how bad I really am at computer games he told me I could go look at the memoirs if I wanted to and just leave him there for a minute.

Speaking of memoirs, which happen to be my favorite genre, Mason picked up a copy of Chelsea Latley’s Are You There Vodka and said, “Hey Mom, this is you”.  Huh?

I’m not sure how many miles we’ve walked in that store, browsing through titles from fiction to travel, cooking to religion, but we’ve covered a lot of ground, mother and son.  It is not time wasted, but time cherished.

A couple of weeks ago my oldest had a problem and he actually came to me and asked if we could talk.  All of the years I spent telling them that I am here, that I will listen without judgement, that I will help in a time of need, really came to fruition in my eyes that day.   I’d always wondered if they really would, though I’d told them a million times they could.  I think maybe it was the talking about the little things that translated to being able to discuss the big things in his mind.

It’s an indescribable feeling to have my child ask for my help in that way.  We’ve gone from tying shoes to unraveling the strings of life’s challenges together.  It’s humbling in the truest sense.

Anyway, I’ve learned never to underestimate what can be accomplished over two cups of hot chocolate in a coffee shop on a Tuesday night.


I can only  hope as they get older they keep talking.  It is such a honor to me when my child wants to share of himself.  There is no conversation I’d rather be a part of.



  1. chad havey says:

    The nights out with the boys have sure made a positive difference in all of our lives.

  2. You are an amazing mom! They are very lucky to have you. I love those moments where you get to sit and listen to everything they have to say.

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