An Unexpected Evening Out with Our Son

By Barbara Nicholson, cofounder of Attachment Parenting International and coauthor of Attached at the Heart

barbaranicholsonYou never know when a precious family memory will start out as a seeming disaster!

Many years ago, my husband and I had been planning a special evening out with his boss. I bought a new dress and carefully arranged childcare with a trusted family friend. The plan was that I would drop off our boys ages 7, 5 and 2, and then come home for a leisurely bath, so we’d have plenty of time to get ready.

For some reason, our 5-year-old son did not want to be left that night. He worried about it all day, but I kept reassuring him that he’d have so much fun, we’d only be gone a few hours, and that Mommy and Daddy would spend some special time with him the next day.

I finally got them all in the car, but as I was pulling away from the curb, I looked back to see that he was still very distressed and begged me to let him stay home. Impulsively, he ran back into the house and I followed, asking my husband to talk to him, as I had no choice but to take the other boys to the sitter. I dreaded the scene when I returned home, thinking that they would both be upset, and my husband would be stressed about what to do. We were going to a very exclusive restaurant that did not cater to children, so I wondered if we’d have to cancel.

I will never forget the joy on my son’s face when I came back in the house. My husband had dressed him in his Sunday best suit, and they were both looking so handsome. They had talked through the problem and decided that if it was this traumatic to be left, and if he was willing to go to a grown-up event and sit quietly in the restaurant, we would let him go with us. Of course, he was an angel that night and all the guests couldn’t get over his maturity and sweetness.

I remember how it felt so right to listen to him and find a positive solution that kept all of our dignity intact. And I will always be grateful to my husband for trusting that our son’s needs came above a dinner out with the boss!

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