School holidays provide the chance for some special family time, especially for blended families like ours where my step-children live with us only part of the week. The school term is a very hectic time for us, as I'm sure it is for most families! Week day evenings and Saturday mornings are filled with activities such as dance classes, swimming lessons, tennis lessons, netball training, and play dates.
So when we reach the holidays we all enjoy a much more relaxed pace of living. We all relish sleep ins and pyjama mornings. We also relish spending more time together just hanging out or getting away on short breaks. The contrast between the school term and the school holidays is quite distinct and indeed quite blissful. On the one hand there is a constant and hectic pace that is needed to get everything done, and on the other hand there is an absence of a schedule and plenty of time to spend together being spontaneous and going 'where the wind takes us'.
I am quite grateful that I enjoy the school holidays experience. I know there are some people who don't look forward to school holidays at all. I know of people who find that too much time together with their family can leave family members tearing their hair out and with cabin fever-like symptoms; claustrophobic and in need of space!
I remember as a child hearing my mother tell friends how much she enjoyed our school holidays, and that she in fact felt quite disappointed when it was the end of the holidays and time for my brother and I to return to school. I feel quite similarly now I am a step-parent. I love the special times holidays bring and the special memories they create. I know I am storing memories of our family camping trips together, long family reading sessions on the couch, and time spent watching and laughing together at a movie! I hope these experiences are similarly being stored as happy memories in my minds of my step-daughters.
My memories of school holidays as a child are that they lasted forever! I could almost feel myself getting older over the holidays because they seemed to go so slowly. I wonder if my step daughters and other children of this generation feel the same way.
These school holidays we are going skiing as a family for the first time. We are going, 'budget skiing'; staying in the local caravan park at the bottom of the mountain and using ski gear we purchased from a discount supermarket. I have it on good advice that the kids may not actually enjoy their first skiing experience (this was a bit of a shock to hear given how much it costs to actually take the family skiing). I have been assured however that with the lapse of time, the kids are most likely going to remember the trip with great fondness and will also most likely be begging us to go again next year.
Regardless of their level of enjoyment on the slopes, we have had lots of family fun planning the trip and we have board games packed for some relaxing time indoors once we get back to our cabin at the end of a day of skiing. Even if the time on the slopes doesn't meet expectations, I'm sure we'll all be able to have some laughs over a game of UNO and a hot chocolate
I am looking forward to some special family time these holidays and I pray that your holidays bring special times for your family also!
Merewyn Foran is married and a marketing director of a not for profit homelessness agency in Melbourne.
Merewyn Foran's archive of previous articles can be found at www.pressserviceinternational.org/merewyn-foran.html