Last week, Theo made several mentions of wanting to go out together and spend some time alone with me. This is not a normal request, so I was instantly excited to make this happen. I told my husband that I wanted to go out on a “date” with Theo, and asked him to help me make it happen. Because my husband is an incredible dad and spouse, he immediately agreed and started prepping Theo on all things male dating etiquette.
Our date night rolled around, and while I was getting ready, Mike and Theo said they had to run into town for a quick errand. They returned home just as I was finishing getting dressed, and Mike took Theo into our bathroom to help him tuck in his shirt, style his hair with gel, and even spray on a little cologne. I came out to the living room to grab my purse, and when I looked up, there was my little boy: walking towards me looking so incredibly handsome and grown up, grinning from ear to ear with a bouquet of flowers in his hands.
I almost started crying then and there but I gave myself a quick pep talk and told myself to tighten up or we’d never make it through the night. Theo was practically bursting with pride and I didn’t want to ruin the moment with my momma-mushyness. I ooed and awed over the flowers, thanked him with a kiss him on the cheek, and grabbed his hand to head out.
We went to a local restaurant where Mike and I frequently go for dates. It is quiet and cozy and is the type of place where the staff greet you by name and make you feel right at home. We walked up to the hostess and asked for a booth for two and before she could even say “right this way,” Theo thrust his dad’s old wallet towards her (which I didn’t even know he had), and said “I’m paying!” Then he turned to me and whispered, “Do I give it to her now?”
For the love of all that is cute and soul-warming. I almost lost it right there.
I glanced at the hostess who was smiling at us and whispered to him, “Not yet. You can pay our waitress when we are done.”
He put the wallet back in his pocket and nodded a wise little nod and followed the hostess as she sat us at our table.
As we settled into our booth, Theo looked around and then back at me.
“Are you having a fun date with me?” he said.
“Baby, I’m having the absolute best time,” I said.
He smiled, settled back into his booth, and continued looking around. (He takes in everything about his surroundings. I know he has the inside of that place memorized!)
Theo knew what he wanted to order so the two of us gave our order to our waitress and then sat back to wait. He colored his coloring sheet and took out his little prize that he had been given when we first sat down. I asked him all kinds of questions and he answered without hesitating.
He told me that he wants to try wrestling. That he has no interest in soccer or t-ball or football. He told me who his best friends are at the moment. He told me he loves being home schooled because he can go to the bathroom whenever he wants. He told me he wants a dog so he can train it to drive a speedboat.
Heaven hold me, I could barely contain my joy at his sweetness and willingness to talk to his momma. We were laughing and talking and having fun and it was about the absolute best thing imaginable.
Our dinners arrived and he began eating at the rate of paint drying (he gets it honestly from his daddy who is a notorious slow eater). But he consistently (if not slowly) picked up bites of fries and chicken and, in between responses to more questions that I fired at him, managed to plow through an entire plate heaping with food. I was shocked and impressed.
I asked him how I was doing as a mom.
“Great!” he said.
“Are you sure?” I asked. “There isn’t anything you’d like me to work on?”
“Step one,” he said. “Hugs and kisses. Step two, love your child. Step three, teach them well. Step four, eat healthy food. Step five, do good things. Step six, have fun with your children.”
He went back to eating.
“What are those the steps to?” I asked.
“To being a good mom!” he replied.
“So…How am I doing at being a good mom? Do I need to improve on any of those steps?” I asked, a little nervous at what he might say.
“You are doing those,” he said!
*This is the point in the date where I started blubbering about how much I love him and how great of a kid I think he is. I couldn’t help myself. I mean COME ON.*
We had spent the earlier part of the day with friends and a big highlight had been collecting eggs from their chicken coop and getting to hold baby chicks. We had a great time, and I was curious what he loved the most about the experience.
“What was your favorite part about our day?” I asked.
“Right now!” he said.
*More blubbering on my part.*
We continued on in this way throughout dinner. He never stopped looking around, watching people and asking me questions about what he was seeing, and I kept asking him all the questions I could think of about who he is and what he likes and what he thinks about his life so far.
Random people would sneak glances at us through the night, catching my eye to smile at me or stopping by our table to compliment me on my handsome date.
“How do they know we are on a date?” he asked at one point, surprised to have been found out.
Our waitress came around with the dessert tray and he pointed to a huge slice of carrot cake. She came back with it on one plate, with two forks, and told us that someone paid for it.
“Someone was just so impressed with your sweet little date,” she explained. I beamed at Theo. He didn’t understand quite what that meant – but I sure did.
She placed the check near me but Theo reached for it as she turned to leave. Again, he pulled his dad’s old wallet out of his jacket pocket and studied the check. He pulled a $20 bill out of the wallet and asked if it was enough.
“I’m paying,” he said again.
I looked at the check and told him it was enough, and he closed the little book with a look of such pride and satisfaction that I could barely believe the little boy-man that sat before me. I felt like I was truly seeing my son in a whole new light. A beautiful, wonderful light.
Between mouthfuls of carrot cake he asked me if this could be our forever date spot and asked me not to bring his little brother here on a date.
“You can take Oliver somewhere else,” he said.
I told him I would. I told him this would always be our special spot.
And it will.