breakfast out

I’ve started getting one of the two older girls out for one-on-one breakfasts every other week. I whisper her awake and we sneak out in the morning before anyone else wakes up. Quietly close the door and head down the sidewalk to a chocolate chip pancake pillage (Lux), a modest plate of bacon (Joan).

The tenor is totally different and I can sense the girls soaking up the luxury of it. I can push Joan in the stroller if she doesn’t want to walk. I can let Lux set the pace on her scooter. We fit at a small table. They can order silly sugary drinks like chocolate milk. Our meals are quiet with spontaneous conversation that peters out and redirects easily.

She was soo good, the heady brunch crowd swilling mimosa pitchers cooed to Joan as we left. Joan looked baffled. It was a date, what was there to do but sit and talk?

My mom was really good about getting us kids out on one-on-one dining adventures, typically framed by errands. She adhered to a strict one child per week schedule. I could track the approach of my week four or five weeks out depending on how many siblings were in the circuit that year. I remember ordering an orange cream cooler, dominating the conversation and saying everything I wanted to say all at one time (my older brother remembers this as well).

In the summertime, there was a northern lake town with a bed and breakfast she would sneak us out to in the early morning. The woman who ran the place never printed a menu, instead she recited it as it was very simply whatever her husband wanted to make that morning. It was special for those one or two of us, and the others didn’t even notice we were missed. Perhaps they didn’t even realize we left at all, until it was their turn to be whispered awake.




  • Susannah Williams

    Joan’s reaction was spot-on…my boys and I feel the same way. Our “mom dates” are so easy and special. I have been taking each out every two weeks since our third son was born. It helps me keep a finger on the pulse of who they are. And when you are used to juggling three young children, one feels like such a luxury. Always enjoy your writing, take care.

  • Ashleigh

    I don’t know why, but this made me tear up. What sweet memories with your mother! And, what memories your girls will have with you. I admire how you make time for things like this.

    Last week, I had Merrimac alone for 24 hours and it was amazingly delightful. It made me realize how very different the dynamic is when there are two others involved.

  • Claire Traganos

    I love this. My dad took one of us every week and its my most cherished childhood memory by far. I need to get serious about making it happen for my babes.

  • Sarah

    I am taking notes on each post about siblings. I just found out we are expecting. Would you ever consider doing a post on sibling adjustments? Books to read to little ones about getting a sibling?

  • Casey

    Thank you for this, Rachael! I have a heightened awareness right now of their individual needs. Some weeks go by and I wish I could’ve savored things a bit better with each separately. Though, most of the time, I know there is no possible way that could have happened (4, 2 and 8 months). My husband and I do not have the strongest framework for sibling dynamics so we are learning from our own children—and choice friends who have grown up amongst a tribe like yourself. I am just picturing how incredibly special each one would feel with a breakfast such as this and I’m sure I’d see sparks. Cheers!

  • Katharine

    What a lovely thing to do for your girls. I was one of three growing up, and I still remember how much I treasured one on one time with each parent, especially my mother.

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