My son and I had an adventure the other night.
We went to a local park with a pond at dusk with the intention to catch, and release, frogs. A friend of mine told me about taking her son to do the same, and I immediately thought, “Oooo Bugsy would love that!”
We set out with headlamps and rain boots one humid summer night, way past his normal bedtime. To be honest, it was past my bedtime. I’m near the end of my first trimester with my third baby. Exhaustion is an understatement. I almost fell asleep while putting my 4-year-old to bed. I almost told him we would have to do it another night. But from the moment I got in the car, I knew how much it meant to him to do it.
It isn’t often that Bugs and I get time alone anymore. He was my only child and whole heart for three years, but that seems like a lifetime ago. Now, I share him with his dad a couple nights a week. When he is home, he increasingly wants to play with his neighborhood friends or watch his favorite YouTuber. He’s growing up and our relationship is changing, even though I try to desperately cling to our old selves. I’ve often felt guilty about the one-on-one time I get with his little sister when he is with his dad and wish I had that with him. He often asks to “go on dates” with me, but we are rarely able to.
But, this night, we did it!
We waited until after Boo was asleep, and snuck out. My husband stayed home while she slept. Immediately upon getting in the car, Bugsy said “Even if we don’t catch any frogs, this is fun!” My sweet boy. He absolutely talked my head off the entire drive to the park. A chance for him to be uninterrupted. He told me all about Minecraft and Pokémon. About his friends in first grade and games they played at recess. My heart burst as I realized his little voice doesn’t get to be heard as much as I’d like.
We got to the park and indeed found several huge frogs. It turns out we are both a bit hesitant when it comes to actually catching them. We squealed and jumped and giggled as they startled us along the banks. I ended up touching one, but Bugsy didn’t. He said, “I don’t know, Mom. After you grab it, then what?! What’s next?!” Ha! What a perfect question. He’s a thinker. A sensitive, animal-loving little guy.
It was never about the frogs.
It was about me and Bugs, and we both knew it. He said several times on the drive home how much fun he had, and how cool it was that it was just us.
Our lives can be monotonous. Draining. Stressful. As my kids grow, I can literally feel time slipping through my hands and haven’t figured out how to stop it. That night, though, as we crept along the water, I was grateful for my time with Bugsy and got to really focus on him. I don’t know what I would have done next, had I had the courage to grab a frog, but I’m excited to see “what’s next” for him and me along this journey in life.