I have this idea in my brain that family fun can only happen under very certain conditions. Like, my house has to be clean. The laundry has to be folded and put away. The refrigerator has to be organized. My work needs to be done. The beds need to be made. Clearly, I am mental.
In my mind lives this undying memory of what life was like when I was little. The house I grew up in was never a mess or dirty. We had to “work before play” so if we wanted to do fun things, we had to “earn” it first. That meant, the house needed to be clean, neat, organized.
Well, in my house, if I lived by that philosophy, “work before play,” we would never go anywhere or do anything fun. Ever. I regret that it took me years to abide by this rebellious attitude.
Yesterday serves as one such example.
Girlfriend really wanted to go sledding. I really wanted to take her sledding. I really wanted Husband to go with us. I really wanted Monkey to go sledding in his new baby sled. When Girlfriend was a baby, she hated the snow and sledding. Since Monkey has proven to be SO different from his big sister, I had a feeling he would LOVE being in his sled.
But, our house was a mess. Toys and books needed to be put away. Dishes needed to be returned to the cabinets. Beds were not made. Two piles of laundry were waiting to be folded. The Bruins were going to be playing their Winter Classic in less than 2 hours.
And I wanted to take my family sledding? You betcha.
I dismissed the chaos around me. I needed a shower but it could wait. I washed my face, brushed my teeth. Girlfriend dressed and brushed her teeth. She got into her snow clothes and boots. Husband got himself ready and I got Monkey ready. We all laughed at how completely adorable he looked in his snow suit. And we left. We left. I did not care that I had “other things to do.” What is more important in memory-making, the fact we stayed home to
get yelled at for not cleaning clean, or that we noticed it was a gorgeous day to be outside, in the fresh air, at this amazing sledding hill right across the way from our own street and actually used it?
We had a blast. We shared the blissful joy of reliving a favorite childhood activity with our kids alongside the other families who were enjoying the day as well. Monkey loved being outside, he loved being pulled along in his baby sled, and he loved watching the big kids.
Girlfriend and I shared her sled as we flew down the icy hill, sometimes together, sometimes independently. Her screams of delight were music to my ears. Not so long ago, she would have been unwilling to sled down the hill by herself, maybe not at all. She would have complained about walking back up to the top. She would have flipped out about the way her boots felt, or her hat, or the snow against her skin that had made its way inside the cuffs of her coat. Not now. Now, she was having fun.
Husband chatted with some of the other parents. He even got on the sled a few times.
I loved this day. I loved that we all had fun without whining, complaining, crying. I loved that I did not care about the dishes or the laundry or the organization that needed attention. I loved that we were together, doing something as a family, not for show, not for posterity, but for fun, because our kids deserve as much family fun as we can give them.