A few months ago, I decided to have a day out with the kids.
During the weeks preceding the trip, I’d noticed my kids were getting testy with each other. Tempers were short and they argued a lot more than usual. This meant that their mom and I spent more time refereeing them, making us more stressed as a result. So one Thursday evening after breaking up yet another argument, I decided that we’d spend the coming Saturday at a nearby lake. I wanted to get the kids out of the house and give mom a break too.
Come Saturday morning, I loaded up the car, rounded up the kids, kissed my wife goodbye and hit the road. I wish I could say that the day went by without a hitch, but I’d be lying. The lake was a two-hour-drive away and I forgot to pack something to keep my youngest child occupied. Thankfully, her teen siblings stepped in and came up with fun road trip games to ward off her crankiness.
The challenges didn’t end there. When we finally got to the lake, I realized I’d forgotten to pack some sunscreen, a picnic blanket, and some cutlery as well. That’s what I get for declining my wife’s offer to help me pack. Being the top organizer in our home, she was more efficient at planning and making sure that we have everything we need whenever we went on a trip. My lapses made me appreciate her even more.
Luckily, my forgetfulness didn’t ruin the trip. The weather was slightly overcast so there was less chance of sunburn among the brood. As for the picnic, we sat on the tarp I carry in the car and it turned out that having a meal outdoors made up for the lack of cutlery.
Time to Relax, Rejuvenate and Reconnect.
We had all gotten into a rut at home. The kids had full schedules with the demands of school plus extracurricular activities while we parents had to juggle taking care of them and keeping our careers on track. Life had become an endless series of to-dos, schedules and stress and it was wearing everyone down.
Watching my kids frolicking and generally having a good time reminded me how important it is to take a break once in a while and just relax. I insisted that everyone leave their phones in the car so that we weren’t constantly disturbed by calls, texts or any of the distractions the devices bring. Instead, we swam, rented stand up paddle boards, looked out for interesting birds and insects and simply enjoyed each other’s company.
My kids got a chance to let loose and they loved it. They also opened up and I got the chance to spend time, converse and bond with them. Honestly, it was refreshing to talk about something else other than their schoolwork or routines. The hassle of our daily routine had almost made me forget what interesting individuals they were and this outing reminded me how grateful and blessed I am to be their father.
At the end of the day, we packed up and headed back home, tired but content. Seeing how successful the trip to the lake was, I decided to make it a new annual family tradition and next year, mom will tag along. I can’t wait!
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