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Week 3: Play with the Kiddos

To be fully transparent this was not a normal week. This week was Thanksgiving and a mini family vacation to Florida. As with any trips involving the whole family it started the same with lots of laundry, folding, packing, running around looking for missing items, and worrying I'd forgotten something. The day of travel was really no better starting with waking the boy’s up at 5am, hitting traffic on the way to the airport, delays with check in, running through the terminal only to sit on the runway for 45 minutes, followed by another 3 hours in the air with the older boys on each side of me and the baby in my lap (sounds like heaven right?). In my head, I began to second-guess my decision to take this “vacation” at all. I always spend more time organizing, preparing, planning, and ultimately worrying about the trip than I do enjoying it. I bet you're wondering, what does that have to do with self-care, sounds more like self-destruction.

Once things finally settled down, and let me be clear that was not immediately on arrival - more like a day or two into the trip - I found myself in a rare moment with just my husband and my 2 year old. We decided to go to the pool. Normally I would grab the camera and take pictures before sitting on the side watching, or more likely working. Not this day! This day, not only did I put on my swim suit and jump in the water, but I actually played; I mean really played, with no distractions, no worrying about how I looked in the bathing suit, no worrying about work; in fact, no worrying about anything. We sang "5 Little Speckled Frogs" and "Humpty Dumpty" and we played with plastic animals and inflatable rafts. For those 2 hours, I laughed, I smiled, and for the first time in a long time I was fully present in the moment, living through the eyes of a 2 year old, and enjoying every single second of it.

For the rest of the vacation, I made a conscious effort to keep that mindset: to remain fully present and engaged. The result was some serious rounds of monopoly, shape building contests, card games (including learning some new games I'd never heard of), Ring Around the Rosie, Hokey Pokey, puzzles, and a round (or two) of H.O.R.S.E with my eldest when we arrived back at home. What I realized is somewhere in the wake of “doing it all” I have really just been doing the administration and the parenting. I haven't been taking the opportunity to truly enjoy the time we're spending together. As the saying goes, "the days are long but the years are short," and I don’t want to look back at this time and think we had the best schedules or the kids had the best lunches; I want to look back and remember sitting on the wall of the pool and singing with my 2 year old, or beating my 11 year old at H.O.R.S.E (yes that did happen). I want to not only be their Mom, but also their playmate.

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