Slow family holiday
We feel lucky to have nearly 3 weeks off from our sometimes grueling school schedule. I use the word grueling because the hours of operation often feel that way in the lives of my 6, 9, and 11 year old school kids. Getting up at 6:45 never feels natural. Going to a structured setting for 7.5 hours can sometimes feel like too much - especially for that kindergartener. Having to do it 5 days a week feels crazy - it feels crazier still when we get little tastes here and there of the three day weekend. And having to do all this and then tack a little bit of homework on the end feels just completely over the top. Hence my use of the term grueling. Not an overstatement at all.
To get 18 glorious days off from that crazy schedule feels like a little bit of nirvana. And to make that time feel more spacious still, we intentionally made no plans to go anywhere or have anyone visit us. Rather a decision to lay low, the six of us, and spend a little time in what I like to call “familial incubation”.
Just a little bit over a week into it, though we are starting to get a little antsy. We overdosed on old holiday movie classics. We ate plenty of good food. We have taken lots of great walks. We have read endless books - of both the picture and chapter variety. We have done endless drawing and crafts. We have even cooked hotdogs over an open fire in the park. (okay, an open fire in a barbecue grill but an open fire nonetheless) We have loved our time together and our very freeform spacious days.
In the past day or two however I have noticed a definite crankiness creeping in. We are being a little short with each other. There are hints of sarcasm in some conversation and there’s a level of sass starting to infiltrate my dealings with my older two. Time for action!
At bedtime last night we all talked about the crankiness and everyone agreed - too much and no good. Everyone felt it and nobody wanted it to continue. We came up with a plan for a good old fashioned yard day. Right after breakfast the plan was to take what you needed and get outside. We were instantly rewarded by a brilliant blue and sunny sky which beckoned us all outside. Baby dolls and calico critters, buckets of trucks and blankets were carried outside. The hammock was hung in the trees. The imaginations were released and all our slow family systems were back on track.
We love our holiday time. We love the freedom of movement and the sort of aimlessness of our days. But we also realize it is important to stay intentional even in that aimlessness. When too many plan-less days are spread out before us, the kids spiral a little bit into wondering what is next. The unknown can make us all feel a little bit on edge. When we are clear with our plans however and mindful of our intentions we can enter into slow days together - with love and kindness and tolerance for each other and the connection we seek in our slow family life.
And the lessons just keep coming and coming.
Recent posts by this author
- Slow family in the field - October 22nd, 2009
- Fall connections - October 2nd, 2009
- Lingering in summer mode - August 13th, 2009
- Consumer Kids - June 20th, 2009
- Slow parenting - May 28th, 2009