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How son and I will have 'more fun' in the new year

A mother and a child relaxing at the

A mother and a child relaxing at the park. Credit: iStock

Harrison is the most diplomatic person I know. He chooses his words carefully, stepping around anything that might unnecessarily offend.

So when I suggested on New Year’s Eve that we make a resolution “to have more fun,” I knew I touched something inside him.

“You mean like old times?” he asked.

My heart sank, because I knew exactly what he meant.

By old times, he meant those baby and toddler years and into the early part of primary school when my smartphone-centered emotional life didn’t turn him into the third wheel, and the demands of work, school and personal care seemed less pressing than they do now.

I am remembering like muscle memory that it’s OK to pull away for a half-hour to “have more fun” with the boy, now 9. Over the weekend, after returning from a 4,200-mile cross-country trip on New Year's Day, some bags still sat unpacked. But after swim class Sunday morning, instead of cleaning house and helping Harrison with his fourth-grade American Indian school project, I asked if he wanted to see “Parental Guidance.” After dinner, we baked his favorite cupcakes.

I still managed to get most everything done and, more important, I left Monday morning for work with a beautiful “I will miss you” goodbye and a happy smile when I promised to play video games with him when I got home.

We’ve discussed our 2013 plans in greater detail since New Year’s Eve, and here’s what we want to do to emulate the things that made us happy in the past:

-Do art

-Cook and bake like we used to

-Go to the park

-Visit Manhattan museums and restaurants

-Play video games and board games together

-See a movie more often

-And read together.

I hope that as Harrison grows, and we subtract from our to-do list, that we add things, too, just like the old days when a growing little boy found everything so new.

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