Island Time: What a month away with my children taught me

11738059_10155931974745083_6601488050755240455_nI just returned from a month away. With my kids. All three of them. 24/7 at arm’s length for 4 whole weeks. We ate every meal together, woke up at an ungodly hour every day together, and spent every second together for 28 days.

Believe it or not, it’s what I wanted. In fact, I was desperate for it. I longed to be free from the schedule: the schoolwork and the activities, the play dates and birthday parties and the overwhelming feeling of always being on the go. I wanted to spend the days with the boys doing nothing. Teaching them that doing nothing is in fact doing something – it’s recharging. Re-setting. And all of us need to know how to do that.

Residing in a busy city and having busy schedules and living with a big, busy family, it’s hard to not get swept up in always “doing”. Checking things off “the list” with compulsion and not really enjoying any of it. I’ve spent lots of time this past year reflecting on how much time we spend “doing” and not “being”. I want to change that.

Most importantly I want to impart to my boys that their self-worth is not tied to how busy they are. And what better way to do that, than to show them how.

We unpacked our bags in Grand Cayman and settled in for a month of island living, where “island time” is a real thing. We spent the days at the beach discovering the sea life, and learning about our world. Snorkelling adventures spanned hours and walks on the sand were slow and unchartered. Mealtime was unhurried and evenings were spent watching old movies, playing cards and lost in our imaginations.

Escaping the perils of boyhood is not possible – even in Paradise. They still fought, and whined, and complained. They still didn’t want to be touched, breathed on, or looked at. The iPads were still taken away and threats were still made, but all to a much lesser degree.

Free from distractions, the boys reconnected with each other and with me. The conversation flowed and while my boys studied mollusks and coral formations, I realized who they are. Their distinct personalities revealed themselves to me in new ways, and my understanding of them and their fears, anxieties, dreams and excitements, became clearer.

The weeks passed in a blur, a painful reminder of how fast the years are slipping by, and tears came with the realization that I can slow down and be more present but I can’t stop time.

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12 thoughts on “Island Time: What a month away with my children taught me

    • Thank you! Many people have asked me why bother taking the kids away like that for a month? The implication is that they will not appreciate it. The truth is, I did it for me. It was a trip for me: to the kind of mother I want to be, to greedily monopolize my boys, to create a memory that will be with me forever.

      • You’re being honest and raw– I like that. I also think it isn’t greedy to crave that quality family time. You’re just one of the few who took that desire and made it a reality and everyone benefited from it.

  1. Beautifully written, Beth-Anne. I’ve craced unhurried time and was able to get almost two weeks, after such a full personal and professional schedule this year. Your last paragraph sure resonates with me.

  2. The true meaning of rejuvenation. Healthy families lead to healthy children which lead to healthy adults. Physical health can only be maintained by allowing mind, body and soul the much needed opportunity to reset. Well Done!

  3. Very well put .I have discovered that our children do not only require quality time with us but even more so quantity time.they are like a plant that constantly grows and need tender care we leave it unattended it wonders around in all directions so time for sure is of essence.

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