My daughter turned 8 last month. Presented with the option of a party or a trip away with Mum, she chose the time away. Of all three, she is the one who most loves time with me. It is a special thing as a mum to have a child who longs to be with you and you alone. (Yes, it presents some challenges too!)
We had a lovely time. We headed down to a hotel at the beach, swam in the indoor pool (the whole family stayed for that part!). Then the two of us had about 20 hours together. We went for a walk, had ice-cream for afternoon tea, watched the sunset, had sushi for dinner and chocolate for treats, watched a DVD and painted our nails. Then next morning we had breakfast out, read a book together and waited for the rest to come back and have another swim. It was a treat to have only one child at a time and she loved it all.
I think we will now give each the option each year between a party and some time away with one of us, with the aim to alternate between the two. I think our other daughter is already planning her trip! Last year my son had his first with his dad, an extra special trip to Sydney to watch the Wallabies play.
I want to continue this as a family tradition, so as to spend more time with each of them as the years progress. Part of the goal is just to have good one-on-one time with them. But it is also so that we have a regular pattern of talking and asking how things are going. In case we end up with the occasional silent and grumpy teenagers, we want to patterns of good time together already to be set. It’s also just because its fun and she felt (more) loved and special as a result. I was very thankful.