Several months ago, I wrote about how things hadn’t changed much for my family since the onset of COVID-19. Since then, my husband and I have both had it (thankfully, we are fine, and our kids never got it) – but despite the delay in the start of school, and narrowly avoiding a couple of hurricanes, we’ve been pretty steadily rolling along.
Our boys went to camp immediately after school was closed in March, and continued on through July 31st. After that, we hired a babysitter who was AMAZING, and kept them occupied playing with toys that we’d never gotten around to using. So they were occupied, stimulated, and entertained.
Our weekends usually go between staying home and lounging all day, to planning fun things to do.
But I found myself trying to plan not just ONE fun thing – multiple fun things. For example, our boys are late to the party and just got into Pokemon GO. So we’d go somewhere to play for a while, and then get snowballs. Another day, we’d find a new spot, and then get lunch. I’d take them with me to the store, only to reward them with a treat. They are 7 years old, and it’s a really fun age to watch them learn and grow, get excited, expand their vocabulary, and describe their activities and surroundings. So these outings were for all of us.
I realized that I was trying to fill every minute with fun – and that’s just not realistic.
They’ve gotten really good at entertaining themselves, so I realized that I needed to let them do it more. Sometimes that meant the majority of the day, so that I could get work done around the house. Maybe we’d play a game together later, but in the meantime y’all can figure it out, kiddos.
A couple of weeks ago on a Friday night, my husband was tired and went to bed before we did. One of the boys joined him, and his brother asked if he could hang out with me. So we went into the guest room, turned on a movie, and just hung out together. It was awesome. I could tell how much he enjoyed having me to himself, and just relaxing together. Of course, the next day his brother was a bit jealous but I told him we could do it one night too. Last night was his turn. We went into the guest room, turned on a movie, and just hung out together. His joy was palpable. Not too long after, his brother snuck in with us too. I grabbed a snack for us, and the smiles never left their faces.
Sometimes all it takes is simple quality time.
Sure, outings are fun, but these simple times also make great memories. I remember Sunday nights being “family night” in elementary school, and my dad taking me to rent a movie from Blockbuster to watch together. I hope my boys remember going to the camp, the beach, and sight seeing – but I also hope that they remember piling into the bed with mom and dad to snuggle and watch a video about snakes.
I think it’s these moments that will stay with them when they are older. I’ve read so many memes and posts online about how parents hope that their adult children always know they can come home, open the fridge, and sit on the couch to hang out. I hope that our home will always be their safe place to land – and I think it’s the simple memories under this roof that will ensure that it happens.