Donna and KaylynIt has been eight years since we got the kids, and it has literally been survival mode ever since. If you’ve parented special needs kids (especially more than one at one time), you know what I’m talking about. It’s about all you can do to get through the day handling the behaviors, not to mention the laundry, the cooking, the homework, and the after-school activities. Oh and the marriage. That takes some time to nurture, especially when problems with the kids are putting a lot of strain on it.

My daughter and I have done fun things together once in a while, but it has never been a regular event.  Last Thursday we inaugurated our date night at the local yogurt shop. It was so enjoyable! I didn’t go there with any intention other than spending one-on-one time with Kaylyn. I like her best when it’s just the two of us. Somehow she lets down a little more then, isn’t affected by the sibling dynamic, and she seems more present. I feel like I’m seeing the real her, and I like the real her. Not so crazy about the girl that looks just like her who shows up at my breakfast table some days.

So we sat there eating our yogurt and people-watching, and I just started asking her questions about her friends, school, etc. I asked her if she liked any boys, and she told me there’s one in her classes at school that she likes. I asked her if he was short or tall, blond or brunette, and how he dressed so I could picture him. Then I asked her, “How are his teeth?” She thought that was so funny. I was still trying to picture him, but she thought I was grading him, like you would check a horse’s teeth. That has become our inside joke. When her little brother asked what we did on our date, she told him we got a yogurt and talked. I said, “about teeth”, and we both laughed.

I’m looking forward to next Thursday’s date.

Photo credit: Donna V.