“I urge you; go find buildings and mountains and oceans to swallow you whole. They will save you, in a way nothing else can.”– Christopher Poindexter
I was anticipating an upcoming weekend catching up on laundry or maybe doing some yard work when my kids told me they have two days off of school and a four day weekend. Apparently I had forgotten to put this in my calendar. I quickly looked at my work schedule to see if I could take a day off and then I checked the weather. We only live 1.5 hours away from the coast and though a day trip is feasible, we always wish we didn’t have to drive home exhausted. So I booked a night at the coast and immediately got excited about an upcoming trip! A small but needed vacation, one we haven’t taken in quite some time.
After settling into our hotel, we left to find some dinner and ended up at a dine-in restaurant. A few bites into his meal, my son says with a sigh of deep satisfaction, “This is the best day ever…” My husband and I looked at each other and mouthed, “What is he talking about?”
What about today made him think it was the best? I quickly thought back on the day. We cleaned out and packed up the van, got on the road, told the kids to settle down several times as they were wrestling in the back, checked into the hotel, told them to settle down again as they were racing through the room and then went to grab something to eat. They were once again asked to settle down in the restaurant as they were being goofy, using their straws to blow apple juice at each other and getting restless. Of course, this is a parent’s perspective.
As I continued to think about his comment, I wondered if it was because we used to travel everywhere. We would go on adventures as a family almost every weekend. Though most of those were small adventures, checking out different parks around our area, day trips to the coast and visiting friends, we were often on the move. Once we began staying home more due to COVID, we all got restless very quickly. The best adventure we could muster was getting them outside to play in the backyard, or in the soccer field nearby.
I realized that this was one of the first trips we had taken in a long time. And it had been even longer since we’d eaten out in a restaurant together. I highly doubted the grilled cheese and fries were the best he ever had, but in combination with getting out together as a family and enjoying what felt “normal”, overwhelmed him with feelings that he missed.
My son’s comment was eye opening for me. It showed me that our kids needed this trip as much as we did – a change in scenery. We are going to spend the rest of the trip letting them run, play and have adventures they can’t have at home!
What ways are you helping your kids with the shutdown and change of pace?
P.S. – Thanks to my husband J.G. Solomon for the featured image! While I was taking photos with my phone, he captured the amazing sunset and reflection with his professional camera!