This past weekend we ventured up to my aunts home in the White Mountains of NH. The trip is a mere 90 minutes from our house, yet it's a whole new world compared to the hustle and bustle of reality. As a kid, my family would venture "up north" to ski in the winter, and to sit lakeside in the summer. Here, I have the most nostalgic memories of my childhood; breaking huge icicles off of the house to eat, sleeping in the loft, and building forts in the basement while our parents most likely imbibed in copious adult beverages while we caused a ruckus among all the cousins out of an earshot. Now that I am a parent I strive to give our kids a childhood that will be just as memorable. They do not have cousins like I did growing up, all close in age, bickering more like brothers and sisters, but that doesn't mean that they can't enjoy the fresh air and water like I did as a child.
It's harder than ever to get kids to unplug. "It's the generation" is what I hear people say time and time again. I don't buy it. The technology is both a blessing and a curse. In a recent conversation with my cousin-in-law we talked about how this generation will view their childhood. He made a good point. He said we remember our childhoods in the grand, bigger-than-life way. Will this generation have that? While they will most definitely have a great visual diary of their childhood, they will not have the same "distant memories" that seem to give this magical feeling to being a kid. A world where your memories are most likely all you have from a day at the beach, or sleepover with friends is over. I remember being so excited if I could afford a disposable camera to snap silly photos, and even more excited if half the photos didn't come out like garbage. Now there is this instant gratification on every aspect of kids lives. Want a movie? On demand. Want a picture? Use your phone. As much as I love all of this technology, I find it suffocating in terms of raising children, and more importantly, a family.
We have been battling the big bag technology monster in junction with growing children, who are losing interest in hanging out with their parents. Regardless of how cool we might think we are, we unfortunately, in the eyes of our kids so not cool. With summer slipping away before our eyes we decided to pack up some essentials and head "up north" with the kids for a weekend with no agenda. Just getting out of the house and in a new setting can do wonders. We all get stuck in a day to day rut as parents.
By getting the kids out of the house, and in some mountain air did wonders. We spent the day on the beach at the lake while the little guy built sandcastles with their only purpose to be smashed minutes after their construction. The big kids ran and jumped off the dock while creating games (which resembled trying to drown each other) in the water, while laughing hysterically with no bickering. We headed out on the pontoon boat and ventured into a channel where the kids jumped off a tree and top swing over-stretching the water. Back at my aunt and uncles house the kids zipped around the yard on the golf-cart, driving it through the sprinkler and screaming with delight as it blasted them in the face when they pretended to "run out of gas". We made homemade peach and blueberry crostata with some fruit we bought at a farm-stand on the drive up. We ended our night by sitting by the campfire. We made s'mores and then watched satellites whiz across the night sky. It was awesome.
It was the best staycation ever. Think outside the box. A staycation doesn't need to be at your home. Visit those relatives you don't see very often. Stop at the farm-stand. Put down your phones. Be silly. Laugh.
Enjoy each other.