Even HH and I at times fall into the trap of busy-ness, and feel like those ships that sail past each other in the night, as he manages all his responsibilities and I manage my own. Yes, we talk, but, there is always that feeling that the conversation can't go on very long, as the next thing to do, is well, right around the corner, and we might as well cut it short, to get to it.
It's a terrible habit. I've seen that. But it's a hard one to break. So many commitments, and so little time. So many things on the to do list to take time out for the most important thing, like family enjoying family.
This vacation, while short and sweet, is really a chance to play with each other, to get to know each other, to talk more, to look into each other eyes more, and give a message of understanding and love, more than any words could do.
I found a moment on a huge floaty, with my two oldest to ask a few questions of them, to take a special interest in their needs and wants, and truly listen, not rush them through the listening process, but to watch the minutes tick by, without worry, without regret of what else I should be doing.
All three of us leaned in together, heads almost touching, and only talked for a few minutes, but the laughter, the understanding that we all shared, was, well, priceless. It's what I hoped this break from the world would allow for us to do....to just enjoy each other's personalities, to indulge in a few whims, or choices of next adventure, and participate, in what THEY want for a change.
And for once, doing what they want to do, just might cut those pesky last few pounds I was hoping to shed. Keeping up with childrens' energy is a whole new adventure for a parent...I've never been this sore after just a day and a half of anything! I'm finding new muscles in my shoulders that I think, shouldn't even be there after lugging rafts and inner tubes up six flights of stairs, hum.....like twenty times in the span of one morning. Perhaps my biceps will stop hurting next week, after holding Babe for so many hours as he shivers from the cold, and scared of the waves hitting his legs. Perhaps my thighs will regain their mobility after racing up those flights of stairs with Carefree, my feet will stop cramping after walking barefoot on concrete all day.
My poor aging body is sore. And I knew better than to do this, but being on vacation, my mouth ran without my consent, and stated, "Oh, I am SO SORE this morning."
The kids heard that announcement, and quickly came to my aid, and Thinker, thoughtful as she is, asked me, "Mom can you still come with us today, or are you too sore?"
I answered her right then and there, realizing my mistake, "Oh honey, yes I'm sore, but it hurts in a good way. Sometimes it has to hurt."
Her confused face asked me, "It has to hurt?"
I said, "Sometimes it's going to hurt to do the right thing...and having fun with my family is the right thing. So I'm coming!"
That got a roaring cheer from the kitchen table, as I made yet another mental note, Crazy Mother, what are you doing?....Are you TRYING to ruin their good time, as they worry about you?! For heaven's sake, stop complaining and put on a smile for them!
It was the last complaint of the vacation, as I could see on their faces, the joy it brought them to have their mother and father accompany them on each adventure, on each new slide, each new wave pool, each new lazy river.....and seeing us enjoy it as well. The smiles on our faces told them something, something so valuable, I'll never take it for granted again...
It tells them how happy we are together, with them, playing with them, splashing with them. It tells them how even we as parents can put down the cell phone, shut off the laptop, unplug from the digital world, and have fun as a family. It tells them, with a simple smile that we enjoy them, we love them, we have fun with them.
You can't fake that. Children will always know. Children can tell the difference between a parent who is present physically but not emotionally engaged. They are extremely perceptive, even if they don't tell you, they feel it, for good or bad. It sticks to their self-esteem. Do even my own parents enjoy being with me? I must be fun and worth while, if I can see on their face, their love and emotion.
Being silly together has been such a gift for this family. Babe splashing HH, Entertainer showing me her doggie paddle, Serious how she swims underwater, Carefree racing me to the waters edge and teaching Thinker to breaststroke.....It's a gift, a wonderful gift of time we are giving each other. These are the memories that will last for years to come, I just know it, how silly we can be, and still accept and love each other the same way as before, only opening the door a bit wider, letting others in to see new areas to love and appreciate.