“If I had my child to raise all over again, I'd build self-esteem first, and the house later. I'd finger-paint more, and point the finger less. I would do less correcting and more connecting. I'd take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes. I'd take more hikes and fly more kites. I'd stop playing serious, and seriously play. I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars. I'd do more hugging and less tugging.”
― Diane Loomans
As a parent, my hope is that I can build a lasting relationship with each of my kids and watch them flourish into beautiful souls.
However, when I’m right in the thick of it all – building a family, career and relationships – I often need to remind myself to step back and become more invested in the details of these young, impressionable lives I have been called to raise.
Our children are only with us for a short while before they will embark on their own journeys.
So, let’s make every moment count.
A few years back, I decided to start intentionally dating my children. What started as a few one-on-one outings has since developed into a very special time of bonding where I am able give each child my undivided and personalized attention.
It’s been a fun and interesting season of discovery and unravelling the many mysteries that make each of my children tick. I’ve learned so much in the process…
I’ve found that my youngest loves to be on the move, whether hiking or a hands-on museum or the playground. She wants to see and do as much as she can as quickly as she can.
One of her favorite spots to check out, Carriage Hills Metropark – there is so much to do here and perfect for toddler-tots! See the farm animals, take a hike down the little paths or even visit the visitor center which has a playhouse, playschool and playbarn inside.
My oldest daughter loves to shop, have her nails painted or see a movie. She is all about being a princess and eating popcorn while she is at it. Our favorite one-stop-shop is The Greene. Movie theater, nail salon, giant book store and food is all she needs for a day of pampering.
My step-son is most content spending time together at the movies, having dinner at his favorite place or being outdoors on an adventure. I like to take him to Yellow Springs where we can grab some pizza and hit the many trails at Glen Helen.
I am learning so much about them as individuals and showing them that who they are as an individual is important. My kids now look forward to that time together and ask when we are going to have our next date. They know that the time is special and just for them.
In turn, I am also learning more about myself as a mother and the legacy I wish to leave behind someday.
Together we are creating beautiful memories and a bond that will hopefully keep us cemented for the rest of our lives. I hope that this will also build them up mentally and emotionally, teach them about positive relationships, communication and life balance. I hope it will also teach them that I am here for them for the rest of my life.
So, date your kids – if you dare!
You may be surprised to find that each one has a special gift to offer this world. We need only step back, show up and listen to those that matter most.
Together, let’s make the effort because our kids are certainly worth it!
Cox Arboretum Metropark, Springboro, Ohio
Photography: Elisabeth Ashliegh / Elisabeth Ashliegh Photography
Elisabeth Ashliegh Gelhar