Perhaps in my old age I am loosing my memory, but I truly do not recall my mother racing my brother and I around town during the summer months filling every second of every day with fun, glorious activities. (A quick phone call to my brother supports my recollection.) Instead, he and I would just play old-school – where we would run in backyard games from morning to night.
Fast forward to present day. Monday night, I prepared a list of activities that would occupy my children who were going to be in the care of my aging father for the entire next day. The following morning, I reviewed the agenda with my dad who proceeded to inform me that I really needed to relax.
For most of the work day, I was anxious the phone would ring with two wailing children or even worse yet, a father handing in his resignation letter. But no such call came in. Of course, this sent me into panic mode. By late afternoon, I caved and called home to find that the children were outside in the yard.
When I pulled into the driveway later in the evening, I was greeted with two happy, sweaty, red-cheeked children. They were so eager to tell me about all the games they played and how they even made their own lunches. My father, of course, did not incorporate one suggested activity on my list and yet the children had what they were calling “the best day ever”.
This morning, I kissed both children goodbye without making lunch or fixing breakfast (it seemed my oldest was going to make tuna for lunch today). Still under the care of my father, I knew they were going to have just another day of good old fashioned fun. No one would be driving them to the play date, followed by lunch at the cool eatery, topped with water play at the spray park, sandwiched between the library visit and arriving home right before dinner. Nope, my father quietly showed me that my approach of planning daily activities is slightly off. What children need is to stay home and play and create and imagine. Take them out and about every day, and they will expect it of you every day.
So for the remaining three weeks, I am going to take my father’s advice. Sure, we have some events or activities planned between now and when school resumes, but on those days where nothing is planned, well…..nothing will be planned.
*photo courtesy of clipart*