When my kids were little, there was lots of togetherness. On school holidays, family time was in abundance. But now that they are older, family time is at a premium.
When the kids are on break, they are either hanging out in their rooms, out with friends or at swim practice (which never takes a break). It’s rare for us all to be in the same room at the same time or going somewhere all together.
This past weekend, however, we had the gift of some quality family time. Although one child was missing in action for most of Christmas Eve, she returned just minutes before we were leaving for church, and that kicked off nearly 24 hours of family fun.
After church we hit the Chick-fil-A drive-thru, picked up dinner and brought it home to eat in front of a roaring fire. After dinner, we were debating which holiday special to watch when one child wandered upstairs to play video games. We amazingly agreed on a movie, and I went to retrieve the missing child — who shockingly came down for the movie. (It was “The Secret Santa” — four thumbs up).
Christmas morning everyone woke up on their own by 8:30ish, and we sat down to breakfast together. After the presents were opened, almost everyone agreed to head out on a family hike. The youngest wanted to be left at home to play with his toys, but we made him come.
To make it more enticing, we decided to explore the ruins of a storied seminary in Ellicott City once known as “Hell House.” Even though the youngest didn’t want to be there, he couldn’t help but be intrigued by the creepy ruins, so complaining was kept to a minimum. Our togetherness culminated with a large family dinner after which everyone was ready to retreat back to their own space. The girls and I watched a movie, the boys played their video games and my husband went to bed.
Monday was back to the regular drill with the kids at swim practice, hanging with friends or holed up in their rooms. But I was so glad to have that 24 hours of family togetherness. I didn’t realize how much I missed it.
FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein, who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 17, Lilly, 16, Adam, 16, and Jonah, 12.