Saturday, July 30, 2011

This Family of Five

Knowing how infrequently we've been going out together as a family of five this summer, due to work schedules, doctors' appointments, and other events, I thought it might be nice if we took a couple of days to enjoy a little getaway for later this weekend. I mentioned my idea to Eric and to all three kids and everyone seemed to be on board. So I made arrangements with a friend who would puppy sit, booked a hotel room, and got some cash for a day at an old fashioned amusement park for Sunday and a water park on Monday.

It used to be easier to whisk the kids away for a few days. I remember many trips to little parks, hiking trails, museums, and fairs. I was always quite proud of the fact that my kids enjoyed one another's company and that a family getaway was just that--the family getting away from home, friends, and other distractions. I am still pretty happy that the kids don't often ask for a friend to come along on family nights or family vacations. They make time for friends and we do invite friends to come along from time to time, but each child truly values our family unit and can have fun with both parents and each sibling. I am especially pleased that everyone looks forward to time at the family camp where, in the middle of nowhere, the kids unwind together as they swim, sun, play games, swing, kayak, read, climb rocks, hike, walk, talk, and hang out for a good week or two. No one complains saying they'll be bored. No one begs to have a friend come. No one doesn't want to go. That's nearly miraculous when you consider there isn't cable or wifi there either!

But I do realize that these days of being just the five of us are dwindling. I've accepted that, for I know we're entering a new stage in our life as a family. Friends have begun joining us for holiday dinners, for example, and this may indeed be the last summer Sydney lives at home, preferring to be with her college friends who are still on campus in the summer months. We get it. It's tough to "come home" after a year of college. Before we know it, Emma too will be off to college and Paul, who is entering Middle School this fall, will show us just how quickly the next 7 years will fly by.

People have begun teasing me about having an empty nest someday. They know how much I treasure my family. I think about it from time to time, and I do wonder what it will be like. But I also know that I have never been one to wish away time with my family and let's face it, I have several more years of family adventures before there are suddenly two empty bedrooms upstairs. I don't have time to think of the fall of 2018; I've got some packing to do. Canobie Lake Park and Water Country awaits the five of us this weekend!

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