This past week I spent quite a bit of time with the four loves of my life – my niece and three nephews. Instead of taking a family vacation this year, we made a decision to spend five fun-filled days “stay-cationing” in Cincinnati. Our goal was to fill-up the time with as much activity as we could – Coney Island, Newport Aquarium and Kings Island were three of the chosen outings. Golf, swimming, grilling out and a Reds’ ballgame completed our plans. And oh what fun we had!
For the most part, we were able to participate in the activities we had planned. The rain caused us to change our itinerary slightly, but this did not cast a cloud on our time together. What made the “stay-cation” perfect was all of us being together. To mimic advertising from Visa:
- admission to King’s Island – $38 dollars
- souvenir at the Reds game for my nephew – $45 dollars
- admission for 6 to Newport Aquarium – $137.00 dollars
- sharing stories and making memories – PRICELESS
I realize that most parents get it. They know the value of spending time with their children. What I appreciate about summer is that often families do a better job of taking time to slow down, find time to relax and have fun. It must have something to do with more hours of daylight, no homework and activities that draw us together – like summer fairs, cook outs and sleeping outdoors! And it’s at these times that we are better able to recognize what is really important. The crazy schedules, the long work hours and the constant chatter from cell phones and computers become barriers to us being present in the moment, while summertime can help us to re-engage with ourselves and our families.
Summer days provide us with so many opportunities to engage with our children. There is so much attention given to summer learning and making sure our children do not lose what they gained in school. And though I agree with that focus, I also think that summertime fun is just as important. Our kids also need time to relax, have fun and connect with us.
While on “stay-cation” I had a chance to talk to one of my nephews about his upcoming entry into high school. We talked about friends changing and starting football at a new school. He shared his hopes and excitement with me. My other nephew is in the midst of becoming a young man. He and has dad do not see eye-to-eye on his most recent hair style choice. He asked me what I thought his dad meant by calling him rebellious. We had a wonderful conversation about choosing battles and also his decision to keep his hair the way it was because the “girls liked it”.
This time to connect, for me to show them that I was interested in their lives and what they were dealing with – also PRICELESS.