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46° Good Morning

Why working parents sometimes need dates with the kids, too

A young child holding an adult's hand.

A young child holding an adult's hand. Credit: iStock

There were walks together downtown — I can still see the joy on his face as he turns back to look at me from the stroller, his big cheeks locked in a smile.

Then dinners as he got a little older, goofing about fondue we shared or reveling over a feast in Chinatown.

There were nights for just the two of us as Daddy worked late, and trips to my office for short visits, and the time I took him to a reunion and we stayed up late and got up early to swim at the hotel pool as much as we could.

And many, many trips to Manhattan museums, eating "a picnic" of pizza or truck food on the train during the way in, strolling for hours, looking at art together, sharing, teaching me how to look at sculpture in new ways, teaching him how to read the placards on the walls, watching him reading them on his own for the first time, getting a bag of hot popcorn for the ride home.

Once we had our portrait drawn on a wintry sidewalk right outside Central Park, another time on a hot summer day at South Street Seaport.

We have gone to our favorite North Shore bridge at 3 in the morning to catch snappers and watch the sun rise, and he has tagged along with me to many yoga classes and boxing workouts.

And just last weekend, there was a one-night stay at a Westchester hotel so we could get away from all the noise (laundry to be done, email to answer, PTA summer duties, supermarket shopping) and just focus on him and me.

These are just some of the dates Harrison and I have had since he was born 8 years ago this November — times I carved out for no one but him and me. The three of us -- my husband, Richard, Harrison and I -- have amazing, fun, fantastic times together. But since Richard teaches, he has had more time to spend with Harrison after school and during the summer. I have been working full-time since my three-month maternity leave ended (I still miss watching him nap in the Moses basket on my bed as I listen for each of his breaths).

From the very beginning, these alone moments Harrison and I can share have been precious. They have allowed us to bond. And I know they are short-lived.

Even as we reconnected last weekend over checking in and chicken fingers, I could see the tug the world had on him — other kids! All Harrison wanted to do much of the time was play — who can blame an only child like him?

So I stepped back and watched and enjoyed seeing the joy on his face as he turned back and looked at me as he ran off with his new friends.

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