We went away for the winter holidays to the beach on the coast of Argentina, but it took us an entire week to reach the sand.
We spent that first week of the two-week holiday in our house in a forest of pine trees about 10 blocks from the ocean. We cleaned the house after a two-month absence and stayed indoors as storms blew in and rain fell on and off.
Our big worry?
How can parents keep three young children entertained while staying put in one spot for an entire week?
It’s not easy but we did it. How? Well, if there’s anything I’ve learned from this experience and from my years as a parent, it is this: Why the rush to do?
I’ve phrased that as a question. I don’t think I can be so brash as to presume I’m wise or skilled enough in parenting to tell you the secret of calm parenting.
And I’d be lying to say that I am an expert at calm parenting.
What I do know is that sometimes it’s damn fine to do nothing entertaining for the kids at all. That’s because in that nothing a lot happens. Board games get played, jokes made, books read, old movies watched and stories told. “You remember when?” is asked and followed by, “Oh yeah. Yeah, that was a blast.”
Dinners get made and the talk around the table livens up and the night goes beyond bedtime for our three children, all under the age of 12. But we parents don’t care about the lateness because all of a sudden everything seems to make sense because we are a family and the music is put on and the kids start to dance. The youngest shows her groove, the eldest her fancy footwork and the middle boy does his best to imitate Mick Jagger.
I smile and we all smile because even if we haven’t left our house and our garden to do anything entertaining in the traditional going-out sense, we’ve been on our own as a family and, well, that’s enough.