Last week I had the amazing opportunity to yank my tween son out of school (yes, during state testing) and bring him as my date to an incredible blogger event at Disneyland. At the risk of sounding trite, the day was pure magic.
Boy Wonder is my firstborn and for the first five years it was often just the two of us as my husband worked long hours and attended school. My son was my partner in crime, cuddle buddy, errand sidekick and anything and everything I needed him to be during that time in my life. Then a funny thing happened; he began to grow up.
Once we added another child to our family, the dynamic between us shifted. It didn’t get better or worse; it just changed.
I dropped the ball on a lot of things the moment I became the mother of two, and if I’m being really honest, I’ll tell you that I dropped the ball on him. It was easy to do. He made it easy to do. Boy Wonder was self-sufficient, good at playing alone, and having lived through my deepest depression a few years earlier, had come to understand when to leave mommy alone.
As you might imagine, I carry a lot of guilt about the “lost” years of his childhood. I wonder if it was I who caused him to grow up so fast, or whether he’s just one of those kids born with wisdom far beyond his years. All that I do know is that he rarely acts like a child. But last week he did. I saw my 10-year-old tween act, beam, shine, and scream like the kid he is Disneyland where I, too, felt like a kid again. Finally, finally, we met in the middle like kids and just had fun.
I realized then how remiss I’d been in carving out dedicated time with my tween. He’s at an age where getting him to talk is hard and getting him to smile is sometimes even harder.
As much as I wish Disneyland magic was available to us every day, it simply isn’t, so I pulled together this list of 20 creative parent-tween date ideas designed to bring you closer together!