The sun has been setting super-early here in recent weeks, which has forced the girls and me to devise new strategies for play sessions after R’s nap. Some days, the girls and I take a bus to someplace fun and explore by the lights of the city. On super-cold days, like today, we stay closer to home, often wandering around the neighborhood, just for the sake of getting out.
These excursions are less about where we’re headed and more about the journey itself. As we wander, the girls jump off stoops, inspect fallen leaves, sing Taylor Swift songs (yes, really) and point at helicopters flying overhead.
And, as you can imagine, with so many activities and distractions, we don’t move very quickly. In fact, we make slugs look speedy.
Tonight, for instance, a “simple” stroll to the local Starbucks, eight blocks from our flat, took 36 minutes. To put that into perspective, in the same amount of time, we could have watched an entire episode of Seinfeld AND made a grilled cheese. I also could have written this blog post.
Some might be bothered by this pace. As for me, I kind of love it. My job keeps me up late every night. I’m up early to get the girls ready and drop L at school. Every day—even weekends—has lots going on.
And that’s precisely why these ambles with the kiddos are so damn fun.
I’ve written posts that touch upon this notion before, posts about the benefit of nothing on a family trip. I can’t stress the importance of slowing down strongly enough. At a time when so many of us family travelers are rushing off to see this museum or that famous landmark, an era when so many of us moms and dads program ourselves to shuttle kids from school to football practice and ballet, having a few hours just to be with the kids is a wonderful gift.
Even if these walks force me to wait for my triple tall Americano, even if they make us human icicles by the time we get home, the aimless strolls I take with my girls are a critical component of bonding as a brood. I’ve got all the patience in the world to move at their pace. After all, who knows how much longer they’ll even want me to come?
To what extent do you factor in “nothing time” with your family when you travel?