There was a time when the summer holidays offered an opportunity to relax, rest, and enjoy some time of doing nothing. As a kid, I remember vividly, those summer holidays, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day, and the trips we would take to the RV for the weekend. Dad would arrive at the house after work. He would come in, get something to drink (iced tea or milk or something like that) then go to his bedroom to change. While we was doing that, I would load up the van; suitcases, duffle bags, coolers, boxes of food; whatever mom had placed by the door for the trip. On most weekends, dad was done at about the same time I was done, so we would load up the Higham crew and away we went.
An hour and a half later we were in the hills of Lancaster County, unloading and getting settled. Those weekends were filled with cookouts, campfires, swimming, hiking and exploring, fishing, friends and family, sitting around and being lazy, and simply enjoying the beauty of creation. At least, to a kid, that's what those weekends were like. For my parents, there was the cleaning, cooking, packing, unpacking, shopping, organizing, straightening up, and laundry; and that was before we left. Once at the RV, it was the opening up, cleaning up, unpacking, putting away, and maintaining of the trailer. When the weekend was over there was more cleaning, packing, loading, leaving, unpacking, and getting settled once we were home again.
Looking back, I appreciate those weekends all the more, as I think about all that went into give the family an escape from city life.
As a parent, I desire to create for my kids those same memories of summer holidays. But I too often wonder just how successful I am at allowing those memories to take shape. I get that there is a certain level of work involved in preparing for a holiday weekend. Even if you are not traveling you still have to think about the menu and activities that will fill the time. Not too mention, the cooking, cleaning, and regular routines. I'm hot dogs don't grill themselves anymore than dishes wash themselves.
But the weekend came and we made the decision to use the early part of the weekend to do some work around the house that we were putting off all summer long. The plan was to get the work done so we could relax and enjoy our day on Monday. And we did! Monday was a wonderful day! We had some new friends over for dinner. The kids got along. The food was great! It was restful and wonderful.
But here's the thing...I don't think I've yet recovered from the weekend. On top of that, I'm not sure my kids recovered from the work of the weekend. And it's all caused me to think, how much is too much? Will my kids look back fondly on the weekend fun, or will there be only the memories of work?
As I thought about all of this, here's what I believe. Work is good. And as we worked, my kids were awesome at getting the work done. We accomplished a lot. And we made it fun as worked. At the beginning of the weekend, we sat the kids down and told them, 'Hey, here's the plan. Let's work and get everything done. Then we can enjoy the rest of the weekend.' Afterall, chores need to get done!
But then I think, did everything on the list really have to get done? Could we have set of of it aside?
As I sat and thought about all those summer holiday weekends and how I remember the fun, I also remember the work and think you can't have one without the other. The trick going forward will be to remember to find the balance between the two. Yes, we will have some work to do, but let's not miss out on the fun of the weekend because it's a great time to get a few things done. Next summer, I still want to teach my kids the value of a little hard work. But I also want to be sure to take advantage of the opportunities to have fun as well.
How's the saying go, Work Hard, Play Harder?!
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