Covering parenting and child development issues
“One thing I had learned from watching chimpanzees with their infants is that having a child should be fun.” (Jane Goodall)
We are at the beach this weekend. It's just the three of us -- my husband, our daughter and I. The weather has been rainy and damp, the pool is closed for the season, as are a number of the stores in town, and there are only a few cars in the parking lot in the community where we stay.
Did I mention that it's just the three of us?
A few summers ago, we collectively decided that our usual summer week at the beach would be more fun for my daughter (and, by extension, her parents) if we allowed her to bring a friend along. In all honesty, I was not enthusiastic. I enjoyed our family time together, and hated the thought of sharing it -- almost as much as I hated the idea of relinquishing some of the privacy that came along with family-only travel.
And not quite as much as I hated what it represented. My daughter was growing up, and outgrowing family vacations with Mom and Dad in the process. I wasn't opposed to the former, but I struggled a bit with the latter.
Fortunately, my daughter's good taste in friends meant the additional traveler was a welcome addition. Her friends are polite and typically possessed of a good sense of humor. Rather than detracting from our trip, they added to it. My daughter was much happier throughout the week, and so were we -- and we genuinely enjoyed the company of the friends she brought along.
And so as we planned this weekend -- without complaint from our fifteen-year-old -- I harbored the secret thought that things might not be as pleasant as I hoped. That a weekend away with Mom and Dad might not be all sunshine and roses.
Well, it definitely wasn't all sunshine -- but that was the weather. But it has been relaxing family time.
We haven't done anything wildly exciting -- in the off-season, there isn't that much to do, especially when it's gray and rainy. But, we’ve visited our favorite places, and we’ve spent time tucked into our favorite spots in the condo. As I sit typing this on the screened-in porch, my husband and daughter are just beyond the glass door to my right, watching videos in the living room. Hers is homework, and his is born of the necessity of living with two females who, unlike him, are not up-and-at-’em travelers, especially on a gray Sunday in comfortable, familiar territory.
It has been a hectic fall. I’ve taken on new teaching responsibilities and my book is due out early next year. These are good developments, but they don’t lend themselves to relaxation, leaving me instead with the constant feeling that there is something I should be doing.
But at the beach, relaxation is the default setting, especially in the off-season. In a few minutes, I will post this and get ready to head out for the day’s adventures. I don’t yet know what those adventures will be, but I do know that I will leave editing and class planning here, both physically and mentally, to enjoy this wonderful blessing of family time.
It’s a gray day at the beach. Fortunately, family makes its own sunshine.