You get 18 summers where you can spend time with your kids. A time to create traditions and enjoy each other’s company. With that we need to make sure we are not mucking around and we make memorable plans to fill their lives not with indulgence and over the top extravagance but with ‘quality’ time as the hipsters say. I myself do not believe in quality time. I question that isn’t all time quality? Then of course I go to dinner with my husband and he is watching a race on his phone and I am reminded of “quality” time.
What steps can we take to make sure we are taking advantage of our summers with our kids?
Create a list. All things in life start with a plan. Start with a list of things you would like to do or places you would like to go this summer. Doesn’t have to be Paris but simply activities and adventures. For example, we try to go to the outdoor movies at least once throughout the summer, But, now that we have invested in an outdoor projector for our house, we can make a movie night on the weekends.
Ask every member of your family some things they would like to do over the summer. For those of you who follow me regularly you will know I do the same when planning holidays. Creating memories requires input from all your stakeholders. It requires give and take and al family members being kind and learning about each other’s interests. I am sure the reason why we never did gymnastics was because my mother didn’t like the gymnastic crowd and preferred the ballet crowd.
Now look at the calendar and schedule some time. I appreciate we don’t have calendars for the next school year and there is always a flourish of events and things at the start of the year – perhaps avoid this time.
Get out there and go to different beaches, explore the bushland, take an overnight trip to the part of the country side you have not seen. Summers are for low key and relaxation. Do it- relax.
Start making some traditions. We go to the same beach place every summer for two weeks but we also make sure we do some things that the kids love as well. Outdoor movies. Summer picnics on a Friday night at the beach, Sunday afternoons in the hammock, waterparks and swimming. Bushwalking and exploring. Reading and lots of it. They don’t need to be grand adventures, but dates and trips out. Small things. Building together and learning together.
Anticipation and why it is good for us
We all need to look forward to something and I ca not cope without something ahead to plan, research and think about.
A healthy sense of “anticipation” can often help energize our lives, and even help us get through tough times. They say that an optimist never thinks their whole life is going badly when one part if it is. Perhaps it is the ‘anticipation’ of the next thing that refuses to let them believe it.
While living in the present is a very beneficial thing – sometimes the present can become annoying, frustrating, tedious, or intolerable. We need to step outside of everyday and get away from it all. I write about building memories with our kids through travel. Travel does not need to be defined by planes and passports but rather ‘getting away from it all”
Perspective – get a dose of it and swallow it whole.
Right now, my friend is so sick with terminal cancer and I bet she would give anything to look forward to a summer with her kids. She currently has dementia brought on by the meds and the pain. If she gets to spend a 5summer with her eldest and a 4th with her youngest that would be a blessing. Truth is this summer ain’t going to be all that joyful in the place she is at right now. We keep fighting the good fight and I can only hope she is strong enough to push on through.
So, let’s not sit here and whine about 18 summers with our kids and we need to get all these bucket list items crossed off – let’s cherish and enjoy every minute we have while these precious young people still look u to me. Before they realise we are simple people and they know more than us. Before they no longer need to depend upon us to take them to amazing places but can fund their own adventures and make their own choices. Before that, let’s be real and appreciate what we have right in front of us now.
How do we make lasting memories?
There’s almost nothing more rewarding in life than close relationships. Doesn’t have to be limited to a spouse but also includes loved ones, friends, children, or our families. One of the things that the most cherished and satisfying relationships have in common is lasting memories.
Memories, especially joyful ones, reinforcing relationships and increase their longevity, especially through difficult times. Whilst we can try to “plan” on creating happy memories, often they just seem to happen. We’d all like it if we knew we could have more of them. How do we go about intentionally making them happen? What are the things that we remember most?
Here is my list for ensuring you are creating lasting memories each summer
- Experience new things together
- Create together
- Be active together
- Include others when you spend time together
- Educate together.
- Share in joy and celebratory occasions
- Make space for spontaneity
There will be times when you have gone to all the effort to arrange something fun and it turns into a diabolical mess. It happens. But these are the times that you can teach your children resilience. The little sponges will watch how you deal with something and how you cope, what your reaction is. If you choose laughter over anger this will only help them in life. If you choose to point out all the things going bad and laugh about it – you are giving them something more valuable than you know. Life with the motto you don’t want to leave things for your children but leave things in them. Resilience and laughter are fabulous strengths to have in life. And yes, laughter is a strength a very powerful one indeed. It’s a superpower.
Just like when you travel and the tough gets going, you are teaching that life is not always perfect and as it is in the movies. The reality of a picnic is there is wind to deal with. The beach may be covered in stinky seaweed and where I live you need to ensure a bird doesn’t swoop down and steal what you are about to put in your mouth. Vicious.
A memory can be made from everything going wrong. The most powerful memories I have of one grandmother is the scent of gardenias and walking her home to pick several on the walk home for her to enjoy the scent in her little flat. That memory was not manufactured or constructed it was a repetitive thing that we used to do. The power of this memory is reinforced by the fact scent is involved.
18 summers with your kids. Make that 18 that are not about ticking off your bucketlist and completing a list but 18 summers of cherishing whatever life throws at you. 18 summers of building resilience and learning to like each other. After 18 years I just hope my kids wnat to hang out with me. I hope they enjoy my company so that they want to spend more summers with me.
I try to fun and kind. I attempt to do my upmosyt best to not be angry. Most importantly I try to be there for them. Constantly doing my best to understand and listen. That is a full on job to try to be all of those things and the way forward with all of that is laughter. Good doses of laughter each and every day. It’s laughter that I hope will allow more than 18 summers with my children.