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Sound asleep, I jerked in startled reaction when he touched me.  Then I heard him whisper, “Mimi, it’s time!”  Leaning over me was my young grandson to whom I had made a promise the night before.  

Having a July 4th birthday with fireworks and water sports certainly makes for a festive occasion but last year he wanted something extra.  Something that didn’t include the rest of the friends and family who had gathered at our lake house for the holiday weekend.  So he asked if just the two of us could go for an early donut birthday breakfast.  By ourselves.  So we did.

We had dressed quietly and tiptoed out of the house trying to make ourselves unheard and unseen.  Jumping in my husband’s pickup truck, we rambled down the country roads leading to the highway where Daylight Donuts’ neon sign announcing they were open glowed in the shop’s window.

Wearing the big wrestling championship belt that had been one of his birthday gifts, Owen grinned broadly at the waitress behind the counter.  “I’m six years old today,” he exclaimed with all the enthusiasm of someone who had just won the lottery.

“You are?  Well happy birthday young man!  Being six is pretty special. Now what can I get for you?”, she smiled in returned.

“A dozen donut holes for here and one glazed donut to go, please.”

I ordered a box of donuts for our still sleeping family members then we sat down to celebrate Owen being six.  We toasted the occasion with coffee and milk, talked about what was going on in his world that summer and visited with an elderly man at the table next to ours.  When the donut holes and milk had disappeared we talked about things Owen wanted to do when he grew up.  And for just that morning I think he felt like he already had grown up (or at least it was fun to pretend).  Returning home, his face was almost as bright as the shiny belt wrapped around his waist.

This year as he was turning seven, he asked me if we could have a birthday donut breakfast with just the two of us again.  So I told him we could.  Dressed and ready before the sun was hardly above the horizon, he was holding me to my promise as he leaned over me to awaken me from my sleep.  “It’s time!”  We were out the door and on the road in minutes.  Destination:  Daylight Donuts.

Again he ordered a dozen donut holes and this time TWO glazed donuts to go.  I had the waitress box up an assortment of pastries for the family and we sat down to discuss his turning seven.  Two middle aged bikers who overheard us talking sauntered over to our table as they were leaving and wished Owen a happy birthday.  Completely decked out in expensive gear, they grabbed their helmets and headed toward the two gleaming fully loaded motorcycles which sat in the parking lot.  As it turned out, they were making a road trip to Malibu, California, something one of them said had been on their bucket list for a very long time.

“What’s a bucket list?”, Owen asked me later.

“It’s a list of things you want to do before you die,” I replied, certain it was a concept his seven-year-old mind could not yet grasp.

“Oh,” was his only reply and then his focus turned to things he wanted to do THAT DAY.  Things that he and I could do together before anyone else was out of bed.  He wanted us to practice with his new archery set and to whittle with our pocket knives.  So for the next hour and a half we shot the bow and arrow like mighty Viking warriors then sat with our knives sharpening pieces of wood like two little old men.  At one point as he contentedly continued the scraping motion on the piece of wood in his hand he said softly, “We’re just having ourselves a nice little morning together aren’t we Mimi?”

“Yes we are, Owen.  Yes we are.”

My close friends know there is nothing I enjoy more than one-on-one time.  There is a special dynamic that happens when the crowd fades away, the group is gone and the only ones left are you and one other soul.

Spending time alone with another person creates a climate for intimacy and a space where your relationship takes on an added dimension.  In our busy world it seems to have become increasingly challenging to carve out that kind of time and space but it is oh so worth it!  Invariably I find that time alone with someone offers me new insight, new understanding and new appreciation for just that one.  So for me it is effort well spent.

 There is a special dynamic that happens when the crowd fades away, the group is gone and the only ones left are you and one other soul.

For married couples spending time alone is necessary for the deep connection required to sustain the relationship through the potholes and pitfalls we will inevitably encounter.  For others it can be the difference that elevates someone from an acquaintance status to that of a friend.

In the Song of Solomon, a representation of Christ and his bride, The Church, we see this request, “My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.”  (Song of Solomon 2:10). Those of you who have chosen to pursue a relationship with Jesus know how intimate and uniquely special alone time with Him can be.

Taking time to be alone with a friend, your spouse, your grandchild or your Lord is never time wasted, but rather time distilled.  Those minutes become refined and will rise to the top of our days as perhaps the purest part of our time here on earth.  I don’t want to miss the pleasure, the joy or the depth of those moments.

Taking time to be alone with a friend, your spouse, your grandchild or your Lord is never time wasted, but rather time distilled.

Later in the day Owen announced he wanted to live to be one hundred and that he wanted me to be at every birthday he had.  I assured him that most likely neither one of us would live that many years.  But for his sixth and seventh birthdays, I’m glad I was here.   And I’m especially glad I took the time to celebrate those birthdays with donuts at dawn.