In the two or so years following our separation, ex, J, and I would go out to eat sometimes. Occasionally, it would be McD's and revolve around kiddie sports. Other times, it was more along the lines of TGIF, good food, but not too fancy. If memory serves, it'd been over two years since that'd had happened. Both of our lives had changed dramatically around then. Usually when J went with his dad, I was quickly out the door, too, so there was less lingering or opportunity.
True to his ADHD form, ex got his days mixed up on Friday, prepared for the Scout camping trip that wasn't until Saturday. He needlessly took off work to hurriedly pack gear, then arrived here after school to take J.
Okay, I'll admit that I'm glad the overnighter fell on his weekend. A year ago when ex took him, it was the first time they went camping together and ex was like a kid being able to (over)buy gear in preparation. J and I had been successfully going out for several summers. Yeah, I loved that he associated camping with his mom, not his Eagle Scout dad.
When ex realized he had his days confused and a free evening (his wife had gone to her son's game an hour away), plus he didn't want to battle traffic home, so he invited us out to dinner and a movie. It took a lot of suggesting back and forth to arrive on a consensus. My ever responsible lush self wanted to go someplace we could hit a happy hour, drink beer, and walk to the movie. This could have been done where my new movie crush worked, but that would have been too complicated, so I chose someplace else that has incredible appetizers for $2.95 during happy hour. We got four - (cough) variety for the kid (cough) - and we were well satisfied.
The movie we'd agreed on was J's choice, a cartoon, of course. The movie I wanted to see was the Jet Li one; J and I have been on a NetFlix Kung Fu kick (ha!) lately with Jackie Chan. However, when we got in line to buy the tickets, I saw that the flick ex wanted to see, Flyboys, was starting soon. Before going out, I'd ruled against it, 14% on Rotten Tomatoes, but when I got home and looked again, it was up to 30%. Of course, hard headed ex didn't care about anyone else's evaluations, so he wanted to see it anyway. The dialogue and much of the acting deserves the <30%, but the aerial dog fights were a lot of fun. That it's based on fact is gravy.
I have found many times that if I let someone else choose the movie, I get something unexpected out of it. Not only did I get to see Jean Reno (I whispered to ex, "Remember that assassin movie with the girl and the plant?"), I got to share in something J really enjoys, flying. He's flown planes on computers most of his life. It was also good witnessing some of the history of early military flying. And it was great hearing the bits of French and translating for J.
Best of all, my son sat between his two parents, alternating between our arms during the movie and between our booth seats during happy hour. I realized that he does do more baby talk/baby act junk with his father, then I pointed out to them both that I suspected it and how it should change. That was the best benefit, to realize how much more mature my nurtuing makes him, although I'm sure part of what he is experiencing there relates to competing for attention with a baby sister.
Just for the record, when I went to the one hour meeting that was at the beginning of the Scout camp out on Saturday and contemplated how I was spending entirely too much time with him over the weekend, ex oddly complimented me on my khaki jacket. It is a magnet.