I had a special time with my daughter today, hanging out at a deli enjoying sauerkraut and playing "Go Fish". She was lovely, and we had fun, which has sadly been rare in recent weeks. One on one time felt lovely.
And I reflected on how important it is to get a variety of arrangements for family time. We schedule "Daddy Dates" for each kid once a month, to get special one-on-one time with their dad. And we have other traditions, such as "Grandma Craft Night" when the kids go to their grandma's house for a craft activity with her.
Sunday night dinner at my in-law's is also a weekly feature of our lives. My husband and his step-father have season tickets for the soccer team, and then sometimes they and my sister-in-law meet for happy hour after work to hang out and catch up. He has lunch dates with him mom, as well. The kids love to stay overnight with my mom, so that has been a way for my husband and I to have weekends away. My family lives farther away, so we see them less frequently, but we still see them every few months.
As a more dramatic example, we have taken vacations in various arrangements, such as just me and Carbon, or just my husband and his dad and Carbon, or the grandparents taking the kids, and that can be a wonderful bonding time.
"Family Time" comes in all sorts of arrangements. While it's important to have the whole family together, it's also important to get each person some alone time, to have one-on-one time, and to have other small arrangements. Family is definitely not a one-size-fits-all deal. It's more like a tapestry of relationships, and each bond needs attention, not just the overall woven piece.