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I got to see first steps, hear his first words, and watch almost every play, field day, and concert he took part in. Who cares if this was the first time we saw a movie alone together? It was just luck that we went to this one together. But since he has been gone so much lately, he decided to take it easy and stay home with us. I said a silent prayer of thanks that I listened to my better angels and said yes to a date with my son. How is it possible that such abuse went on back then?

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Following is a life-changing lesson that I learned years ago that still benefits our family today.

I gained custody of my kids in 2011 after being gone from them, except through letters, for most of 2009-2010 and after a nasty split and subsequent custody battle between their mother and I.

Wasn’t it just yesterday that I would walk him in his stroller to Dunkin’ Donuts?

How could this man with the scruffy beard be the same toddler that I would hand feed pieces of munchkins to so he wouldn’t choke.

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As a parent, a lot of your time is spent fixing, correcting or punishing behavioral issues.I go through the motions in a bit of a fog, and I feel exhausted every day and wonder how I’ll get through another. And pretty much every day is the same as the last: Wake up way earlier than should be acceptable. Breaking up the same stupid fights, repeating the rules, prepping 873 meals and snacks every day … The entire experience can feel a bit soul-sucking on certain days, but having gone through these funks more than once, I’ve come to realize that, as with any relationship, a good parent-child relationship requires nurturing. Love is a choice, and I am choosing my children and finding ways to rekindle the magic in our bond so I can fall back in love with motherhood again. Play the same games and read the same books over and over and over again.Getting out and having some quality one-on-one time always helps us to reconnect and reminds me of all the little things I love about them.I am pretty certain that the greatest thing about modern technology is the ability to capture sweet moments with our children.And is it true, had we really never seen a movie, just the two of us? We usually are with Dad, or Lizzy and Peter, or Grandpa.

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