“Do you guys have any vacation plans for the summer?” It’s a question we all hear often during this time of year. Somehow summertime brings with it the expectation of family leisure and fun. In a sense, it rightly should be that kind of time—the kids are out of school, so there is a lot more focused time to be spent engaging the family. However, part of the mentality with summer vacation and leisure is that these times need to be big, extravagant, and memorable (read: cost a lot of money).
The world places upon us the expectation for extravagant vacations, and oftentimes we feed into that, regardless of what our bank account would warrant. However, memorable family fun does not need to drive us into debt. In fact, I think most kids would be happy just with time spent fully engaged with their parents. When I asked my daughter what she wanted to do this summer, her answer to me was: go swimming. That’s it. She wants to swim. So, for me to make this summer everything she hopes for, it simply means I need to put down my phone, shut off the computer, and get in the pool with her. Simple.
This does not mean every family should just swim and not travel. Sometimes we have it in our budget to plan a large scale vacation, and that’s ok. It just need not be something we pressure ourselves or our families to achieve every year. When our kids look back on their childhoods, they will for sure remember those grandiose family vacations. But what they will remember even more is you. They will remember the times you spent splashing the water around in the pool and being present. Those will be their treasured memories.