One pool party.
Two water park adventures.
One birthday party.
It was an experiment of sorts. What happens when you participate in every family-friendly social activity you are offered over the course of seven days?
Truthfully, every week this summer has started with the same motivation: open my kids to new experiences and spend quality time with them. The goal, of course, is simple until you realize that it requires energy and creativity. For as taxing as being out and about with two children can be, sometimes it is really nice not to exhaust yourself with complex thinking.
My solution? Say “yes”.
As the week went on (and the laundry piled higher), I started to ponder if the life we were living was sustainable. And, let’s be honest, could our bodies really handle any more sugar? The days seemed to blur, and inevitably one of my children was begging me for a nap.
[Insert thrashing limbs here]
During the academic year, nearly every week is plagued by a most powerful two-letter word. No, I need to meet with a student. No, I need to plan. And the most commonly used of all: No, I need to grade. Without realizing it, I had reached the other parenting extreme.
But little people have this special ability to redirect our paths. In the middle of a crowded water park – without access to a camera or phone – my daughter took a step…then another…then another. It was as if her tiny feet, the ones that hours before weren’t walking, were now demanding a slower pace.
I’m here, Mom, but only for a little while.
The laundry, I’m relieved to say, is no longer a mountain and our family has spent the week in recovery. Unsurprisingly, my kids haven’t even noticed our inactive social calendar. As it turns out, walking away from “yes” – even in ankle-deep chlorinated water – is actually easier than realizing you’ve spread your family thin.
Human relationships may require “yes”, but balance sustains us all. And when we allow the waves of life to calm, the magic of childhood will most certainly find us in the release.