At the moment it is School holidays in Australia and at this time of year my sons dad has about seven weeks off work. That means that the boys spend over half the week with him each week. So often there is pressure to fit a lot into the three days we have together including catching up with people, doing activities and making memories.
During the week I had been making plans for what we were going to do on the weekend but the weather did not play along. So we had a lazy weekend instead. Which turned into a great weekend.
Friday consisted of a lazy pyjama day doing our own things and relaxing. This was followed by a yummy homemade dinner together and our standard Friday night movie night. And to finish off the boys decided to have a sleepover in one room (king single beds mean they can fit in together (along with the dog).
Saturday was my day to get things done around home while the boys played with the kids across the road. Followed up by leftovers from the night before and a games night that consisted of four board and card games, snacks and lots of laughter.
Sunday we went out for brunch which sounds very sophisticated but is less so when you go with an 8 and 10 year old. Followed up with shopping for school supplies and more games when we got home before the boys went back to their dads.
The big winner for the weekend was the bedtime stories I made up on the spot each night. They were a huge hit and they want them to continue – better get thinking over this week of some new topics as my brain isn’t always so creative by that time of night.
So the weekend that I thought might turn out not so great ended up being just what we needed and a great one for making memories.
Growing up I loved expressing myself through the arts and creativity. I started dancing when I was six and by the time I was in my mid teens I was doing five classes a week. Looking back now I wonder what my parents were thinking of agreeing to this given the time and financial commitment they made but that is another story. I played the recorder in primary school (just another way I tortured my parents). I then moved on to the flute in secondary school and have great memories of being in the school band. And in both years of my VCE four of my six subjects were based on art, graphics or dance.
Over the years since school my creative outlets have reduced due to many different circumstances. In the last couple of years when life has felt out of control and the need to control what I can has increased my creativity has taken a huge hit.
However one thing I do still feel a connection to is music. I have music playing in my house often but what is playing varies greatly based on how I am feeling. See I have always connected music to memories and emotions. It can be the lyrics, the tune or just the emotion behind it all.
There are songs that make me think of my years of dancing, songs that take me back to high school and in particular my years in the school band. There are songs that make me think of my wedding day, my marriage and the end of that relationship. And so many songs that I connect to my children.
But the feelings attached to the music can change. Songs that used to make me cry about my marriage ending no longer have that impact. Songs that I relate to younger years that make me reminisce and songs relating to my kids always make me tear up.
My Spotify playlists are so varied that I am not sure how it continues to suggest songs for me. However one thing I can guarantee is that there are always playlists for me to sing along to and there are always songs to take away the quietness of the house when the boys are at their dads.
Over time I am trying to get back to some of my other creative outlets and connections but in the meantime music will continue to be a big part of life in my house.
I have had a week off work this week to spend the second week of the school holidays with my boys.
For the first time in a long time, and much to the boys delight, I have totally avoided work. No phone calls or checking of emails. In fact, as we went away to Phillip Island for four days, we had very little screen time (other than movie nights) and lots of time for making memories. Mini golf and mazes, magic shows, chocolate factories, animals – Phillip Island has so many great family activities. At the end of the four days after much fun, laughter and time for connecting with each other it felt wonderful to hear the boys say how they would miss the holiday and how much fun they had.
Today, being the first day back home, I was doing housework and getting myself organised when I noticed my youngest just sitting in the driveway looking around. I called out to see if he was ok and he ran over and said “come look at the clouds Mummy”. This turned into nearly an hour of sitting on the driveway with him and his brother talking about what pictures we saw in the clouds, looking for planes and endless games of eye spy.
Sometimes making memories can be from grand gestures, holidays and amazing activities. Often though, it is from the simple things that fill us with happiness and laughter. It is so easy to forget how important giving time to our children is – and how simple it can be to make a memory.