When we were little, it didn’t take much to excite the kids in my family. All my dad had to do was throw us in the car and drive a half hour away and let us climb and hike…and we were happy. Even just a walk down the block from Grandma’s to the river to wade in the muddy water, or an outing to the park was thrilling.
Sometimes we think we have to do a BIG thing to make an impact on our kids or families. We spend a ton of money and time to go on a week long cruise or some other exotic vacation our kids will always remember. Those big vacations can be fun, but my husband and I were quite surprised one time when we asked our kids what their favorite vacation was, and almost every single one of them talked about a small ‘daycation’ where we drove 2 hours away to a small resort town and hiked, swam in the lake, ate breakfast at a cheap pancake house, and then drove back. Other memories they had were of small moments near town where we took a few hours out of the day and picnicked at a reservoir or just walked along the greenbelt.
That taught me that we need to stop being so concerned with doing huge, elaborate vacations. Time is what matters, and if we only spend time with our family every 5 years because that’s when we’ve saved up enough money and time off of work to go somewhere…then we are missing out on lots of opportunities to make memories.
Enjoy simple pleasures like climbing in a cool tree you find on a walk, or skipping stones in a pond. Utilize the places close to you and make memories. My Grandma once told me that when she was on a cross-country driving trip, she talked to a gas station attendant who had never seen the cool monument Grandma was there to see. But when the attendant mentioned she had gone to the Grand Canyon, Grandma realized she was the same way. Both ladies had visited places far from home, but hadn’t enjoyed the wonders right in their backyard.
So get outside (or inside if you have neat museums nearby) and enjoy all that is close to you. Your kids might enjoy it more than a long road trip because there isn’t hours of driving involved asking: “Are we almost there yet?” Going close ensures you can answer with: “Yes, we are!”
Enjoy the small moments…picnics in the park, joyriding down Main Street, sundaes at Sonic with the windows down, walks in the rain. These are what make the difference between life and living.