In our family, we have always loved and honored DATES. Not just Mommy & Daddy going on dates. Although that is of utmost importance to keep our relationship strong and connected, while being an example for our children. It’s also been important through the years for each of us to honor our children individually on dates with just one parent or both. Sometimes dates get crashed and joined together…yet the effort we have always put out to make each and every one of us feel important and special, has helped keep us all bonded and feeling loved and honored. We even see sister and brother do their own dates together. Play dates with friends are also important. Just this weekend, Mom had a play date and sleepover with her long time friend. We had another friend join in around the fire pit and when Dad came home from work, he joined in and we laughed and laughed and had a wonderful time. The next day, Mom & Dad had an impromptu date with our oldest son, Elijah, all day long. He went and got donuts and younger brother joined us for donuts and coffee out in our backyard chatting and enjoying our morning. Sister decided to stay home with her younger brother, while Elijah joined us for a day out to lunch and shopping. What a joy! We got to talk about deeper, meaningful things alone with Elijah. That truly set the tone for the rest of the week. The following day, Mom and Eden had their day together. We had the Mother~Daughter date I had dreamed of way before I even became a Mom. We went and got threaded, massaged, boba, shopped and then picked up a friend for Eden to bring home, and brought back dinner for everyone at home. And the following morning, Mom and Esiah, our youngest son, enjoyed our usual morning breakfast together and then a stroll around the neighborhood and some homeschooling together. It doesn’t always work out back to back like that. Sometimes when life and schedules are a bit busier, the focus may just be on the one who may need it the most at a certain time. The previous week, my husband had separate lunch dates with each of the kids. He’d come home from work and pick one up for their favorite choice to go enjoy lunch with Dad. These times are an excellent way to talk and share and listen without having to share the limelight with siblings. This truly helps build trust along with a positive self image and expectations for a beautiful and meaningful life. I am sure this tradition will carry on into my children’s future lives they create out of our home. Once our second child was born, we still wanted to honor our first born in his own time, and also give the same gift to our baby girl. It was easy for us to trade off with each child for our dates, back then. We loved to take the last weekend before school would start after a long, wonderful summer, and go away for a hotel stay to end the summer and begin the fall with excitement and something to look forward to. It’s the little things that make the biggest differences. Once our third child was born, it took a little more creativity and juggling with an odd number. It seemed to work itself out and that’s where the older kids stepped in and joined in the rotation when needed. And for the kids’ birthday gifts from Gramma each year, she takes them on a date to celebrate their day. They normally spend the entire day with Gramma celebrating in their own way together. It is cute to see how it unrolls each year and if they choose to go alone with Gramma, or include a sibling with them. These memories will last longer than any gift and will be more cherished. We believe bonding and experiencing the joys of quality time together is such a value to self worth, gratitude and appreciation for being with people. Taking time for our loved ones help them see how much they mean to others and to help them in expect good things for themselves in relationships. Now my husband is ready for us to set our date up and the kids all love when we go out and enjoy ourselves and come back happy and energized. Dates can be a short and sweet moment or a getaway for a few days…it varies and changes with the times. However it may look or work out, it is so worth the effort for a peaceful and loving family atmosphere.