As I reviewed my yearly goals this past December and January I realized that one area that really needs improvement (and hence a new goal for 2012) is the one-on-one attention I give to the individual members of my family. I have had high hopes of getting into the habit of doing “Fathers interviews”, at least periodically with the kids; and in having a semi-regular “date night” with Natalie. I also want to go on periodic dates with each of the kids so that they have special one-on-one time with each parent. I did go on several dates with both Natalie and the kids in 2011 but there was no regularity to “date night” and I would like to pick up the slack in 2012.
So I created a rough calendar of “dates with dad” and presented it to the family during FHE a few weeks ago. We determined that it would be reasonable for each kid to go on a date with mom or dad once eight times a year (or once per quarter with each parent). The goal for a TyandNat date night is ten times per year (monthly never seems to work). We set our first round of dates at that meeting and executed them this weekend. The goal moving forward will be to have a date planned at all times. The hope is that by having something on the calendar this will become a more regular occurrence. So we started this weekend. I will give brief details to illustrate how I am the king of blown dates.
On Friday I took Eli to the opening of “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” in 3D. I am not a huge fan of the Star Wars movies, and Episode one is probably the weakest of the lot, but Eli does like Star Wars, and I have to admit that the Star Wars movies are an important part of our American culture. So, we scheduled the date for as close to opening as we could. Nat responsibly shot down going to the midnight screening and I presented some campus workshops in the afternoon, so the earliest we could get there was 7:00. To make an evening of it we left around 5:30 so Eli could eat at his favorite restaurant. Conveniently, the Happy Meal included a star wars toy (a top of some sort), so Eli was really excited. We then went and bought junk food and went early to the movie (6:20ish). We arrived to see a line of about 50 or so other hard corers and were thrilled to get special Star Wars 3-D glasses as well as two miniature star wars toy characters. There were even two “real life” star wars characters there to greet us in the lobby. One storm trooper gave Eli his autographed trading card, which made his night. It was fun watching the movie with Eli, but the 3D effects were not nearly as cool as I had expected (more like Toy Story 3 than Avatar) and we were both pretty tired. After the pod race about midway through the movie Eli suggested we go home and go to bed. I was happy to oblige.
On Saturday I gave in to years of requests and took Natalie country dancing at Mike’s Dance barn in Nashville (Indiana)… or at least that was the plan. We had a sitter come over and were on the road by 7:00 arriving to an empty parking lot at 7:30. There was supposed to be instruction fro 6-8 and then a live band from 8-10. Instead it was just us and the parking lot. Too bad, I had even bought a new “country” shirt for the occasion. Rather than hanging our heads in defeat we made some calls and learned that “The Players Pub” in B-town often has dancing so we headed there. Well, there were four people dancing but neither of us wanted to step on the toes of 80 year-olds so we just sat back, didn’t order anything, and chatted while we listed to a really good blues band. It wasn’t what we planned for but we still had a great time. On the way home we bought a treat at the grocery store and then went home and watched the BYU/Pepperdine basketball game.
So, not everything went as planned this weekend. The good news? We scheduled and went on dates, thereby growing closer as a family. Tonight we will schedule the next round, yee-haw!