Sometimes it’s hard to really stay in touch with the people we love, even if we see them on a regular basis. I know my husband and I are very fortunate to have our adult son and daughter (along with their spouses and our grandson) living in the same town as we do, close enough that we can easily visit each other’s homes. But we all lead very busy lives, and so it can still be difficult to find the time to gather everyone together for a family meal, or even to have the kind of real conversations that allow us to keep up with each other’s true thoughts and feelings.
Like so many people, we often rely on the the convenience of text messaging to communicate with each other. And while texts certainly have the advantage of being quick and easy, they aren’t at all the same thing as a face-to-face conversation. Texts don’t allow us to hear someone’s tone of voice, or to read their expression and body language. The truth is that we all need the chance to spend “quality time” now and then with the people who are most important to us.
Which is why I was so very grateful for the chance to spend a week in Florida recently, sharing a house with all seven members of my immediate family. Living together for a week without the usual distractions and demands on our time gave us the opportunity to relax and enjoy each other’s company in exactly the way I had hoped.
We shared meals together, played games, swam in the pool, worked a puzzle, watched some beautiful sunsets, laughed, and just talked about whatever happened to be on our minds. Living with my grandson for a week reminded me of just how much work, and just how much fun, caring for a toddler can be. It was great to witness my daughter and son-in-law’s impressive parenting skills, and to watch my grandson grow even closer to my son and daughter-in-law.
There’s no such thing as a perfect vacation, and this one was no exception. The temperatures and humidity were both too high to really enjoy being outside early in the week, and the house wasn’t as close to the beach as we had hoped. I’ll also spare you the details of where we found the giant dead roach. (You’re welcome.)
But those were just minor glitches that didn’t matter at all. We still had a wonderful week together. Our recent vacation gave us the perfect chance to grow just a little bit closer as a family, and to truly strengthen the bonds that hold us all together. And in that sense, it was all I possibly could have asked for, and more.