About six years ago my wife and I came to an agreement. She gave me permission to date outside of our marriage. I feel the need to explain that I have been completely faithful to my wife, but I have really enjoyed going on dates with others. It is that much more enjoyable knowing that my wife not only knows about it but also supports it.
You see, I go on dates with my kids. My two girls both enjoy a lot of quality time, while my son is content with just going to Lowe's with me. In fact, Big A asked me one time if we could go on a daddy/daughter date. When I asked her where we should go, she said, "We could get dressed up and go to Trader Joe's!" My dates with the kids are not necessarily about the destination but rather the time that they get to spend one-on-one with their daddy. It's a time for me to ask them about their dreams, their friends, and school, without being interrupted by the other kids. It is also a time for me to show my daughters why daddy is the only one they need to date
So a couple of weeks ago I asked Big A if she would go on a date with me. She lit up and gave me three criteria - we needed to go out for ice cream, it needed to be a place where we could dance, and we had to wear our fancy clothes. On Monday she set out her outfit for our Friday date, and for the week she could not walk by me without putting her arms around me, kissing me, and telling me that she couldn't wait for our date.
I found a '50s diner close to our house that had ice cream sundaes and a jukebox at each table. This would be just what the two of us needed. So on Friday of that week we each put on our fanciest clothes (I actually just wore a shirt and tie, which I wear to work every day, but it was a tie with hearts on it that Big A picked out for me, so I was set). We drove to the restaurant, we ate our ice cream, we played an old rendition of Daddy's Little Girl on the jukebox, and we had a delightful time. Once that girl gets some ice cream in her she can sure talk! And all she needed from her daddy was for me to listen and be with her. You can bet that I will continue this as she gets older. And of course, as we were leaving the restaurant, we danced on the sidewalk all the way to the car.
I realized that I sometimes think my kids need a lot more than they actually need. I want to woo them with super fun adventures, but they really just want time with their daddy. The total cost of our date was $7 (we left a great tip), we spent a little more than an hour together, but the pure delight and joy of my daughter is something that I will never forget. And with the way she talks about that date, I'm willing to bet that she will never forget that date either.