One morning this past summer, I asked my daughter, “Let’s go out to lunch today! Where do you want to go?” Without hesitation, my daughter shouted, “Puccini’s!” Off to the restaurant we went.
Just her and me. Summer lunches with my daughter were an unexpected gift of our time together this summer.
As my beautiful girl continues to grow, our June and July look different every year. When she was a baby, we took long walks. When she was toddling around, we enjoyed lots of playtime in our front and back yard. Last summer we dipped our toes into playdates and spent lots of time at parks. This summer felt different than all the others. As a four-and-a-half-year-old, she had different needs and wants (some easier to deal with than others!). One unexpected joy, though, was taking her out to lunch once a week. Just her and me. I didn’t have to prepare anything and she can order food that she knows she likes = WIN WIN.
When she would order for herself, stating, “I would like a pepperoni pizza, please,” I was a proud mama. As she asked for lemonade or chocolate milk, I could see a glimpse of her future adult self who advocates for herself and lets others know what she wants.
We played “What’s Missing” from her earlier days of watching “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.” Using the kids’ menu I taught her tic-tac-toe and she became adept at connect-the-dots activities. She stated, “I want to stop you from getting three in a row!” every time we started a new tic-tac-toe game, but she didn’t care if she won or lost– she was genuinely excited to be playing together.
There are very few distractions when we’re at a restaurant. I’m not thinking, I should fold the laundry or I really need to load the dishes from this morning. We talk. It’s just her and me. Lunch with my daughter is a fantastic time.
While we now go our separate ways for lunch because I’m back to teaching and she’s in preschool, we’ve already stolen away one Saturday for a lunch date. Just her and me. Summer lunches with my daughter were an unexpected joy this past summer–one that I’ve decided we’ll continue into the school year.