We didn't plan for Noah and Austin to be nearly 6 years apart. In fact, Austin was around two years old when we started trying to have another baby. It was only after we gave up, that Noah surprised us with his arrival.
At that point, Austin was used to having us all to himself and we knew there would be jealousy involved. I remember in the early weeks of Noah being born, Austin let a room of us know this. Everyone was circled around Noah with the "oohs and awes" that come with a new baby. Austin stood up on a chair and said very loudly, "You aren't paying enough attention to me!"
It was then we invented "Austin Days" - a date in which he could chose the parent and the activity. I called them Mom and Son days and looked forward to the one on one time we shared. Whichever parent had a date with Austin, the other had a date with Noah. It was a way we could give focused attention on one child and really get to know them as person.
Austin and I loved going out to eat on our dates. He enjoyed those dates because he could order nearly anything on the menu, not being on the typical budget as when the four of us ate out. We would select restaurants that others in the family didn't like (like Shogun) or the more expensive places so he could go wild with the order. Sometimes we would also go to a movie or to the mall or just riding around.
One of the last dates I remember was to the Drive-In. We had both wanted to see whatever movies were playing and nobody else did. I'm guessing one was a scary movie, which Tim refuses to watch. We would shake our heads and laugh at him and the fact he was too scared to see them. The weather was beautiful and we got there early to get a good spot. We sat up our chairs, cooler and blankets and settled in for a fun night. We ordered greasy burgers and onion rings and snacked on popcorn and sweets throughout the evening.
It was so much fun just being together. I remember thinking how lucky I was during the night, that my teenage son still enjoyed spending time with me - and went out with me in a public place. We saw many of his friends that night and he never ducked his head, not wanting to be seen out with his Mom, or asked to run off and talk with them. He was content being with me.
I was secretly planning our next date and it would have been the ultimate Mom and Austin day. His favorite group was AC/DC and they were going to be fairly close to us in January. I had not yet really found anything to get him for Christmas and had pretty much decided to surprise with him with tickets. I knew Tim had no interest in seeing them and Noah was way too young to attend a concert like that so it would have been for just the two of us. Austin had never been to a concert and I looked forward to sharing that memory with him.
It hurts. My heart aches that we never got to take that trip - and that he never even knew I was planning it. It hurts thinking of all the other trips and "Mom and Austin" days we'll never get to experience. I guess I just have to remember and treasure all the ones we did have. And I'll forever hold on to the memory of the fun we had on our last date. The Drive-In will always hold special memories of good food, many laughs, and the pride of knowing he still enjoyed time with Mom.