If you’re a parent, chances are that “family time” is one of things that you’re either actively planning, or occasionally feeling guilty about not planning. I’m not talking about the day-to-day routine, but the times that you deliberately plan an outing or event in order to guarantee that you have indeed conducted some quality “family time”.
And chances are, if you’ve had some recent “family time”, there is at least one point in time in which you think to yourself, “This is why we don’t have family time!”
I’ve shared a few of our more noteworthy group adventures here, most recently our “Family Movie Night”, aka “Kid Trauma Movie Night”. But it had been awhile since we’d consciously chosen to do something as a family, so The Captain & I decided to remedy that.
Do you ever get into a rut where you become so absorbed with the day-to-day tasks that you lose sight of the bigger picture? You know how busy life can get.
Sometimes we become so focused on getting things done that we forget that it’s been awhile since we made a deliberate effort to spend time with one another as a family.
The Captain & I had been talking about this as of late, & made the decision that Sundays would be a family day. Following church, we’d try to do at least one activity as a family.
For our day’s activity, we decided to head to a park out on the island that had both a walking path & a playground- a nice combination of exercise, fresh air, & fun for the (little) kids.
We used to live near the park years ago, & had pleasant memories of taking the kids there…
… forgetting in our enthusiasm that now:
A.) 3 of our 6 are teen/tween, with teen/tween angst.
B.) There is no Wifi in nature. There was no Wifi in nature back in 2009 either, but with 4 kids under 7, no one cared.
From the minute we announced that we’d be taking a family walk, we were met with a chorus of wails from the older kids, who could not process why we would voluntarily choose to not only visit a place with no Wifi, but continue to WALK around such a place.
The little kids were on board… at first.
If you’ve got teens, then you know how pleasant it can be to drag an unwilling one to do something he/she does not want to do.
In our case, we had TWO.
But, “family time”, so…
The first portion of the park is a straight path toward the water. We began to walk together… have you ever seen 8 people walking in a straight line toward you? It looks less like a casual walk, & more like a small village mob.
But thankfully, we would not be alarming anyone with our sheer size, because our line quickly broke as kids walked at a pace that matched their enthusiasm..
…or lack thereof.
So #6 would run ahead, to be chased by a concerned #3. #1, the teen of protest, would walk to each bench along the way, only to sit down on each to illustrate her angst. The Captain took the front of the march, & I took the rear, because as the rest of the group hustled along, #5 was not so much hustling as pausing.
Pausing at every.single.stick. And puddle. And rock.
And the problem is, #5 is so damn cheerful that you can’t even yell. So every 40 seconds, I had to say,
“Wow, that’s so neat! Let’s keep moving, though!”
The Irony: We came to enjoy nature, but eventually I was chiding her about enjoying nature too much. Or rather, too slowly.
The walk to the water was fairly uneventful. Only #s 1 & 2, the Teen Tiraders, were grumping.
We COULD have simply walked back the way we came.
But we didn’t.
We chose to walk a roundabout path back, on a tree-lined path. And THAT’S when the real fun began.
As we walked, the whining began.
#1: “This is soo stupid.”
#2: “Why are we even GOING this way??”
#3: “Mom, the girls are being so annoying.” (That’s why I love that boy)
#4: (full on WAILS) “I hate this!”
#5: “Look a rock/stick/puddle-let me stop & see!”
#6: “Look! A rock/stick/puddle/let me stop & see!”
So our “family time” soon dissolved into complaints from most of the kids for being outside, & me snapping at them,
“This is family time! Stop being whiny cupcakes & suck it up, kiddos!”
It wasn’t fun. It was full of whines, & tears, & those fast breaths that follow lots of whines & tears.
And sighs. Lots of heavy teen sighs.
Oh, & STICKS.
Lots of STICKS.
It was one of those moments when you are ready to give up. You’re cranky, & annoyed that the kids are so ungrateful & whiny, & think, “Why bother?? Family time BLOWS!”
You want the picture-perfect moment. You want the kids to be wonderful, & for you to be wonderful as well. You want to make the “right” moment so badly, for THEM, that you sometime miss that this moment IS real -for better or for worse- & happening, right here, right now.
So we kept walking.
And I apologized, laughing. Which made the kids laugh, too.
And the tears stopped.
And the whines stopped, too.
And the teen sighs sto- well, the teen sighs continued, but 5 out of 6 ain’t bad!
By the time we reached the playground, the kids were happy & excited.
Well.. most of them… but like I said, TEENS.
By the time we piled into the car & left, the kids were chatty & happy, talking non-stop on the ride home. Seriously. Non-stop. All six. All the way home.
Was it easy? NOOOOO.
But was it worth it? Yup. Because we were all out of practice- not just with doing something we don’t typically do, but doing it as a unit. Together.
And without Wifi!© Copyright 2017 Six Pack Mom, All rights Reserved. Written For: Six Pack Mom