Dear 5-year-old and 12-year-old girls: When you are of proper dating age (which is about 25, in my opinion), my sons are going to know how to behave when they take you on a date. You can go ahead and thank good ol’ moi when that happens. Love, Mrs. Adams Bunkers Okay, here’s the story … Completely by accident, because my other kids were at a play date, I got to enjoy dinner out with my 12-year-old s and 5-year-old sons, Freddy and Rowan. This happy accident was undoubtedly a gift for my sons’ future girlfriends. My 12-year-old was giddy with excitement. He picked the restaurant and set-up a reservation through “Open Table” (an online reservation system). He also decided that we should get dressed up for our special evening. He broke out the Sunday clothes: a nice shirt, tie, shiny shoes, and even socks that match. And my 5 year old found his clip on tie, which by the way goes with any t-shirt. HA! That’s when I had an epiphany: I can use this time to teach my boys how to treat a lady. What better time to learn than now? And who is a better guinea pig for my kids than their own mother? When we got to the restaurant, I let Freddy take the lead:  He opened the door for me (which is one of my manner “musts”) and then approached the hostess, ask for the table… (I told him beforehand I wanted to sit by the window to look at the water), he remembered and asked her. (so cute!) Once we sat down I offered him a little friendly advice on his approach. He was pleased to get the feedback. After all, kids want to be treated like adults. He immediately followed through with my feedback when it came time to order drinks: water for Freddy, lemonade for Rowan and straight vodka for me. (You know I’m joking, right?) Can you believe that? I can’t get my kids to put their dirty clothes in the hamper, but when it came to manners at a restaurant, my son’s were shining stars. The drinks came and the conversation flowed. My 12-year-old son was on fire with questions: He is a chatty sort anyway;  “How was your week? What’s going on at work? How are your new products coming along?” He was amazing, and here’s the kicker … I felt heard!  He even asked what I wanted for dinner and ordered for me. Then, the icing on the cake (that we ordered for dessert):  Rowan, being his normal observant self, began taking cues from his big brother and participating in the conversation. I felt heard again! Plus, I felt like he was on my side. At one point, he said to the server: “How spicy are the enchiladas? My mom doesn’t like them too spicy.” He thought of me! Spending time with 1 or 2 of my children is a rare treat. In a family our size, individuals can get lost when the entire clan is together. I really loved our “date.” I got to learn a little about the boys that the chaos of everyday life doesn’t permit, and they got to learn a little about the first woman in their life Next up:  teaching them how to shop for a birthday gift, in advance of the actual birthday. Maybe they can teach dad something. HA! Now, my girls can’t wait for their turn: A dinner date with dad. The opportunity that opened up this possibility has become a family tradition. Do you have any family traditions that keep your family strong? Be sure to share it with the TruKid community by leaving a comment. Sincerely, Jennifer Adams Bunkers