I don't own a boat.
I don't own a jet ski.
I don't even take my family to the river an hour away to 'get away' for the day...
...I think that might change.
We just finished a weekend at my brother's cabin on Long Lake in Wisconsin. It is a beautiful lake, pretty clear, deep, lots of room to swim, boat, tube, kneeboard, and have lots and lots of family fun.
But what surprises me is what effect the whole experience has on our family.
She gets to enjoy the sun, relax, and let others take responsibility. Sure she 'owns' prepping one of the meals, but she doesn't have to handle the kids and the house. She can chat, play, ride, and swim when she wants. I think that's what she likes the most...doing what she wants on her own terms.
Oh, and she smiles. A lot.
He gets the best of what he loves most: Both laying around, and being extremely active tubing and knee boarding. On one hand he can sleep in, eat a fantastic breakfast (egg bake), play video games. He can take the time to learn magic tricks and try them out. You see, there's enough time in the adult's schedule to try out tricks and learn. Finally, he can exert every ounce of energy tubing and knee boarding on the boat. He loves that. I think it gives him a release from his normally deep-thinking brain. He can just focus on one thing: Staying above water!
Oh, and he smiles. A lot. And talks to me about all kinds of things.
My oldest (by a minute) girl. She gets to test the limits of her capabilities. And she pushes herself to squeeze the most adventure out of her weekend. She likes to win, try new things, and take walkabouts. She got up on the kneeboard the first time she tried. She went canoeing, and loves her independence.
Oh, and she hugs me a lot. And congratulates me on my 360-kneeboard turn.
My youngest (by a minute) girl. She just soaks it all in. She loves to talk, laugh, find critters, fish (caught a nice sized perch), canoe, and bounce around on the tube. She was also up on the knee board the first time, but something about her just likes to experience it all, and not worry about excelling. However, that doesn't prevent her from doing just that...she is quite excellent at most things and is giving Spitfire a run for her money.
Oh, and she laughs. A lot.
My young son. So much like me. So independent and wants to prove himself to his brother and sisters...and his father. He gets tired of me directing him and LOVES it when he can just be a boy: Catch crayfish, canoe, bring a clam home for a pet, use a small fish he caught as bait for the bigger fish he wants to catch. He is afraid to try new things because they sounds scary. Today he did NOT want to get catapulted out of the pontoon by me and my brother, but once he did...and flew several feet to a grand an glorious splash in the water, he said "THAT WAS GREAT! LET'S DO IT AGAIN!" (same experience with the kneeboard the next day). That's what I want him to bring home with him. The wisdom that most things worthwhile in life are scary when he first tries them, but once he does, he'll love it.
Oh, and he laughs a lot at the lake. His brain gets fed. He loves exploring, finding, adventuring on his terms. Basically he can finally do life at "The Speed Of Jaxon"...which is the way he loves it.
I get to loosen the reigns on the kids. They love it. I love it. Why don't I do it more? I get to do 360-degree turns on the knee board, and have my whole family clap for me. I think I gained more respect in that one moment than any amount of hours of accomplishments at work. I get to read, write, talk, listen to my dad, watch my mom and dad's still-as-70-somethings-obviously-in-love marriage. I get to hear my brother tell stories of when we were kids...to my kids. I get to spend time with my whole family (notice in this photo my dad, mom, brother...with a pontoon with our wives, kids/grandkids in the background).
Oh, and I smile a lot. I get to hug my kids a lot. I get to see my family smile, squeal, play hard, sleep hard, and become a tighter family.
That's why I think we might find ourselves at a lake more often.
How about you? Where do you and your family go to connect?