Going out on a date with your, not anymore, kids

According to the dictionary, going on a date is a social event and does not have to be romantic.
This is how I found myself, last Saturday, on a date with my 25 years old daughter – will call her Jane – and 26 years old young women, an adopted daughter/friend that I met in Seattle – will call her Lori. Lori just had her first child and is not going out by herself or with her hubby so much anymore. Jane, on the other hand, is a burlesque performer, a volunteer in the Youth LGBTQ community and goes out a lot.
Although we all have partners in life, we decided that this is a Girls’ Night only. The decision made the situation a little weird, as Jane’s fiancée is a woman. We changed it to Hebrew Girls Night Out – which means that you need to be a girl and speak Hebrew to be part of the scene.
Lori was born and raised in Israel and has been in Seattle for a few years. Jane was born in Israel and was raised half of her life in Montreal and the other half in Seattle. Her Hebrew is amazing, as her mother — me — had “language fights” with her while growing up. This means, that at home Jane and her sibling had to speak in Hebrew, otherwise they were not listened to. A lot of fights took place, as both girls hated the idea and struggled with the language. But today, at the age of 25 and after a year of volunteering in Israel, Jane is fluent in Hebrew and this is our secret language. How cool is that?
Jane, Lori and I have a very special relationship that started two years ago, when we all met in a monthly Shabbat dinner in our local Beit Chabad and fell in love. The fact that I have friends, in my kids’ age, makes me always smile and feel very proud. This is one of my biggest achievements in life!
What do I mean by that? I was born to a very rigid family, which means that the parents are up there in the hierarchy and communication and relationships are identified by fear and respect. Those two things go together and do not disappear when you grow up. You might find yourself having a glass of wine with your father and mother on a family dinner event, but you will not ask your mother to join you out, with your friends for a drink.
I always wanted to be different from them, when it came to family relationships. When I had my kids, I decided to do everything I can to be a good parent but at the same time have a friendship level, that is out of my parental role.
I always talked to them like a mature person, even before they started talking. I would walk around the house in the middle of the night, with Jane in my arms as an infant, telling her that she has to go to sleep. We used to stand and look out of the window to a dark street and I would say: “The trees went to sleep, the cars went to sleep and the cockroaches went to sleep, now Jane has to go to sleep as well.” I know, awful, but it was summer and the cockroaches were part of our life in that humid hot weather. Jane was 4 months old and when the summer ended, I stopped using these sentences and moved to books and songs.
One night, a couple of years later, when Jane was about two and a half years old and a good talker for her age, I tacked her in bed and heard her talking to herself: “The trees went to sleep, the cars went to sleep and the cockroaches went to sleep, now Jane has to go to sleep as well.”
OMG… right? I left the room cracking up. But besides the laughter, I realized that it worked! All the time that I was talking to her and treating her like a real person who understands, were indeed imprinted in her mind.
I was always the mother but I was also human, shared my feelings when I was sad and upset and made sure that my girls are part of the healing processes in my life. The discussion was always adapted to their age and level of maturity, but it was there. If they wanted to say or share something, they knew they could do it with me, and things only got better with the years. Even in their teens – most of the time – we had a good communication going between us and I knew a lot of things that other parents would kill to know … or would kill themselves if they knew? I just listened and tried to be quiet – unless I was asked for advice.
Going out clubbing with Jane and Lori was one of the best evenings I had lately. We laughed a lot, ate a little, danced as much as we could and skipped between clubs and bars. I wish more parents will take the time to go on a date with their kids – that’s a higher level of parenthood for me and so much fun!
If you have kids that are old enough to drive themselves, tell us what did you do lately with your kids for fun?