A few years ago, Ken and I realized, truthfully almost too late, that our girls were growing up quickly. We recognized that as we trudged, sports chairs in tow, from one athletic event to another, raced to this awards banquet and that school fundraiser, and squeezed in piano, tennis, and dance lessons, time was flying by. The precious minutes we had with our children were increasingly only had while on the run with “have fun” and “good luck” shouted out the window as we sped off to pick up another child or make it to another event. That’s when we decided that we needed to set aside one day every month for some meaningful togetherness – whether the girls wanted to or not.
To our pleasant surprise, our girls were all for our new plan to spend one entire day each month together without it being a school or church event or our two week summer vacation. They liked the idea of doing something fun and out of the ordinary together as a family. So we began to think about what we could do, and believe me, the list was long! Some of the ideas were do-able, and others weren’t, but the goal was to come up with a day that everyone would enjoy.
Over the past few years, we have had some wonderful family days together. We have gone skiing, visited battlegrounds and museums, and attended the St. Patrick’s Day parade (and a host of other activities to fill the day) in Washington, D.C. We’ve gone to Arlington National Cemetery and paid our respects to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the 3rd U.S. Infantry, the National Book Festival, and even New York City (okay, that did require an extra day and night). The point was never what we were doing but that we were doing it together. We’ve even allowed a boyfriend or friend to tag along if we were also combining the celebration of a birthday or other special event, but for the most part, these days have just been the five of us. Even with Rebecca off at college, we have continued our family day activities. Whenever she can join us. Rebecca will come meet us, or we will pick her up on our way to our destination (which usually includes a snowy weather activity as she goes to school in the mountains).
This past Saturday, we took family day to a whole new level when we went to Hershey Park for the day with Ken’s parents, his sister and her boyfriend, and our nephew. This time, it was actually Ken’s mother who made the plan for the entire family to get together to have a whole day of fun and togetherness. As we made our way through Chocolate World, just before leaving the park, we stopped to take pictures to remember our day. While most of the world thinks of Hershey as just a brand of chocolate, I will forever think of it as a another way to make a memory that our family will never forget.
Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels. Her first book, A Place to Call Home may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks. Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.