My oldest is now 17 and I still think about the lesson I learned that day. My boys didn't need to go, go, go and be places, but they just needed quality time WITH me. They didn't need the big vacations or for me to spend a lot of money to make great memories.
On Wednesday evening we were at Flag Football games and while visiting with parent's I found many talking about their vacations over Fall Break. It seemed like everyone had something "great" planned. We had hoped to take a vacation over Fall Break, but things didn't work out. I found myself feeling more and more guilty that we didn't find a way to do something "great." I started feeling like I needed to come up with something quick that would be GREAT! Where could we go, what could we do, what would make this weekend the most memorable? How could I come up with some extra money to do these things? Could Rick get some time off to make this happen? Is that the best use of our time? I went to bed on Wednesday night feeling worried about Fall Break.
Then Thursday morning at 3:30 a.m. came around and it was time for my 2 oldest to go to the Temple. Then the call comes at 6:30 a.m. asking if they could hang out with different friends. Rick heads to work and the boys ask if they can go eat lunch with their dad at work. It's a HIGHLIGHT every holiday break. We get $10 of Little Caesar's Pizza and go to the cafeteria area where they have a Ping Pong Table and a fountain drink machine where the boys can get a drink. After Ping Pong Tournaments they get a treat from the cupboard and the lunchtime is over. You would think the boys struck gold doing this. Their dad plays ping pong with them. My oldest wanted to still hang out with friends and came home at 10:00 p.m. after a GREAT day!
The rest of us went to the PG Girls Soccer State Tournament Game after lunch with dad. Had fun cheering them on, which my niece is the team. They loved being outside, being with family, having dad with us and cheering on PG.
After the game we decided to stop by the Curiosity Museum (have a family pass) with a couple of cousins and let them play until it closed - we had 1 1/2 hours. The day came to an end and it was GREAT!!!
Today the boys wanted to play with friends and get their rooms cleaned. We were trying to figure out something "GREAT" and realized the boys don't need the big things, but "TIME" with those they care about and love. Whether it is friends or family it's all about "TIME". That's what actually makes the memories.
Sometimes we get so busy putting our children in things, helping them build their talents, hoping to make great memories and thinking that they need to do all of these things because they only pass this way one time or we are running out of time to make these "GREAT" memories that we forget it is in the simple things that memories can be made. Just like adults, kids want down time. They want time to just be home and read a book, play on the computer, play a board game, spend time with their siblings or just take a nap. These things are good - and can even be GREAT!!!
When I think about my childhood I don't really remember all of the places we went or all of the programs my parent's spent money on putting me in because that seemed important at that time, but I remember the things we did together. I remember the feelings I had, the time I spent with my siblings or just sitting up late at night playing Dr. Mario with my mom and talking about my day. I remember the time working at my dad's office, because of the time we had together. I don't necessarily remember the day to day work, but the time we talked, had lunch together or just his phone calls into the office when he was out on a job.
I believe my parent's got it right: they taught us to work hard (didn't like the hard work at the time) and celebrate after the hard work with homemade ice cream or homemade rootbeer. We played board games together and went outside for a walk around the neighborhood or a fun kickball game.
Don't get me wrong, they took us on tons of vacations. Hawaii, Disneyland, Bear Lake, etc. They just didn't make that their total focus to help us enjoy the day to day life or school breaks.
It's important for all of us to remember the "GREAT" things in life can be simple things and it's more about the TIME.