'You don't care that you don't get to open presents early' I asked my middle daughter who decided to spend the weekend with me instead of her father, siblings, and new family for an early Christmas.
'No, Saffi will bring the presents to me. I wanted to spend time with you alone' she replied as she hugged me.
Though I should have had all three children coming to my house for the start of my week with them today, I was asked by their stepmother and father if they could have them until their trip to Germany early next Wednesday. I agreed but this time made sure to have my reply documented via email as to avoid any misunderstandings or accusations in the future as was the case with Thanksgiving week.
Last night when I talked to the children and Cinnamon asked if she could come to my house this weekend, I tried to convince her to stay with her siblings in order to celebrate with them. I wished not to separate them and told her she could come to my house Monday after school instead.
Once again, I found myself putting my needs last. Here my daughter was asking to spend time with me but all I thought about was how it would impact the time with her father and new family. As I thought about her request further, I realised I should honor her choice despite her missing a family event with the other parent. I wrote an email to her father early the next morning stating Cinnamon could come to my place if she still wanted.
At noon I still did not hear back from her father so I got ready to drive over to the school to inform them of my intent of picking her up after school. As I was leaving, I checked my email and smiled when I saw the response: 'Seena...would rather stay with you over the weekend.'
She was happy to see me in the school office this afternoon. We drove off in the opposite direction of home as I had a surprise for her. It had been a while since we ate at NXNW but this time it was me and my daughter. I ordered two portions of garlic parmesan fries for us which we ate outside on the patio as it was an unusually warm day for December, even in Texas.
As we waited for our fries, a little boy walked over to our table and wanted to play with my daughter. He had long blond hair and was quite outspoken for a 2-year old turning three tomorrow. He handed Cinnamon a small plastic Spiderman and I encouraged her to play. I glanced over to the parents with whom I started a conversation. Their son was their only child and they agreed he was outgoing.
We took our time eating our fries and drove home afterwards. We enjoyed Lebkuchen and chocolate shortbread star cookies for dessert after she showered and changed into clean clothes. Though shorts and a tank top are perfect for summer, it seemed strange for her to be wearing this for winter as well. I wondered if winter would arrive at all this year.
We had to be up early tomorrow morning for an appointment at the car dealership but going to bed was no issue for Cinnamon as I found her asleep in her bed before even 19,30h. But before she fell asleep, I read a chapter of The Apothecary to her. The house was quite calm with one child. There was no fighting for attention or fighting amongst the three children.
I was glad my daughter chose to spend time with me this weekend instead of tearing into presents. Her desire to have alone time with me touched my heart as I knew it was not about getting things which mean most to children but parents making time for them.