My wife is away this weekend with one of our children. They’re hiking part of the N.H. Appalachian Trail and will be staying overnight at one of the evening huts. Up top is a view that they’re likely to have from Mt. Webster. I hope they have a good time.
Meanwhile, I’m at home with the other children. It’s a quiet Saturday so far. One of our teenagers slept until 12 noon. I’m cool with that. The sports and rigorous academic schedules will ramp up in just two weeks. Two children are painting their toenails. I’m looking up fly-tying instructional videos and just got back from the gym and grocery shopping.
Frankly, it feels great to having nothing scheduled, other than prepping dinner. If I’m feeling motivated, I’ll start the laundry today rather than tomorrow.
I think an individual outing with each child is necessary and fun. Going fly-fishing with me has been a rite of passage for our children, and I have a standing calendar event every other weekend to take one of our children out for lunch. We try various sports, from tennis to squash to golf to cycling. We’ve gone candle-pin bowling at Sacco’s Bowl Haven (now, a great Flatbreads Pizza location). I recently went to a concert, to see Hillsong, with one of our children. We occasionally cook together.
I remember well “Family Game Night.” When our children were all quite young, we’d devote a Saturday evening to a board game. I’d cook burgers and hot dogs, and we’d play a board game on the floor in the family room. Very fun.
We also try to travel. Every spring break, my wife and I trade off and bring our children on a trip. Last time, I took them to NYC. One year, my wife took them to visit the Bay area.
What we’ve learned is that each child has his/her own preferred activity. We think it’s important that they try different things and see what works for them. And, it is fun to engage in an activity as a family and on parent-child outings. Sometimes, it’s important to stop parenting and just build a relationship with a child.
It is so cliché, but children grow so quickly. As a friend says, the days feel long but the years feel short. I have great children. I’m so very proud of the person that each of them has become. They look out for each other.
I hope they one day will look back fondly on these special activities and moments with each parent. I love each of them so very much.