This weekend my husband and I took our kids to west Texas for a family reunion. Each year, my dad’s extended family has a weekend long family reunion at a local church camp. The camp has a large dining hall with a commercial kitchen, cabins and RV hookups, swimming pool and playground. It is a wonderful place for a large group to meet up for several days.
The dining hall was the hub for the weekend’s family fun. Family members congregated before meals and lingered long after meals were eaten. Many conversations were had and games played around those tables.
There were approximately 50 people there over the course of the weekend and I probably knew less than half of them. I can’t actually remember the last time I went to one of the family reunions. It’s got to be at least over ten years!
It took Kora all of five seconds to make friends with the other kid cousins. She is two years younger than the youngest of the cousins. Most of the other kids were in the 8-11 year old range. Luckily, the age difference didn’t stop all the kids from playing together.
On Saturday morning, Kora and my mom found a baseball bat and a small wiffle ball and started to play a game of baseball. It didn’t take long before the big kids jumped in and started to play too. The big kids were very patient with Kora as she tried to hit the ball and then encouraged her as she ‘ran the bases’.
During the baseball game, Kora did something that completely baffled me. When it was her turn, she picked up the bat, that was nearly as long as she is, and tapped the ground like baseball players tap home plate. I couldn’t imagine where she had learned that behavior. We’re not big baseball fans, so we don’t go to games or watch baseball on TV. I asked her how she learned to do that and she simply replied, “George.”
Curious George! Of course she learned it from Curious George! Kora is a little sponge and she absorbs and remembers everything she sees and hears. It amazes me when she starts talking about something that happened months ago. One day I was talking to her about planets and I was trying to use the cartoon Ready Jet Go to help her make a connection to what I was explaining. She then starts talking about how “My dentist has Jet Propulsion.” Why does she remember that her dentist’s office had that cartoon on the TV during her appointment four months ago? That’s such a random thing to remember, but she recalled it as if it happened yesterday.
The other day as I was driving the girls to a playdate, Kora was playing with her toys in the backseat. I hear her talking about steam. She tells her toys that steam is just water. I ask her who taught her about steam. Her response? “Timon.” As in Timon, the meerkat, from Lion King. (Technically, Kora has never seen The Lion King. She watches The Lion King 1 & 1/2)
Seeing how much she absorbs makes me want to constantly surround her with new information and new experiences. It also makes me want to shield her from any and all inappropriate content that we might run across. I cringe when I hear something on a commercial that I feel a 3 year old doesn’t need to hear, hoping she doesn’t start repeating it. With Kora, she might not repeat it today; she might start repeating it in a couple of weeks.
I know it’s starting to sound like Kora spends all her time watching television, but that’s simply not true. She does love to watch cartoons, but we do limit her screen time. And we try to make sure that if she is going to watch cartoons, at least they have good teachers like George and Timon.
I’ve had birthdays on my brain for the last month. Both of my daughters were born in March, so I’ve had parties to plan and then host. My birthday is also in March, so I’ve been thinking about that too.
Birthdays are really just personal New Years. I mean, think about it. Your birthday is the anniversary of the day you came into this world. For everyone else on the planet it’s just another ordinary day. But for you? It’s the start of a brand new year!
Your birthday is the day that resolutions should be made. Instead of saying, “2017 is the year that I start (insert goal here),’ we should be saying, “35 is the year I start (insert goal here)”. Your birthday is the day you should evaluate your life and determine how you’d like to improve your life.
That’s what I’m doing. For the January 1st New Year, I made several resolutions, and I’m proud of how I’m doing with them. I plan on continuing those resolutions as well as taking on my Birthday Resolution.
‘What is my Birthday Resolution?’ you ask. 35 is the year I start having more fun. I recently read an article in Good Housekeeping magazine titled “I haven’t had this much fun since I was a kid,” and it has stuck with me. The article was about a woman who had quit gymnastics as a teenager and then decided at age 42 to start taking classes again. She wrote, “You grow up and leave childhood and fun behind. But why?”. As I was reading, I kept thinking that this woman has a very good point.
Why do we as adults abandon things we once enjoyed as children? Why, why? why? Since reading the article, I’ve been thinking of things I enjoyed as a child and what I could start doing again as an adult. Here’s what I came up with:
- Riding my bike – I would like to start riding my bike again. I want to ride for the fun of it and not necessarily for the exercise or to get somewhere. I want to ride just to ride.
- Capture the Flag/Scavenger Hunt – Growing up I played Capture the Flag all the time. It would be so much fun to organize a grown up game. I would probably have to Google the rules on how to actually play the game, since I’m pretty sure we just made up our own rules. I also enjoyed the type of scavenger hunt where you had to go and take pictures of your group with certain things or doing certain things. My mom always made the best lists. This would be an absolute blast to do now. I can picture it now – husbands versus wives!
- Frisbee – Ok, so I didn’t do this much as a kid, but I think it’s fun, so I’m adding it to my list. I’m pretty sure I have a Frisbee somewhere, so I’m going to dig it out and I’m going to start throwing it around.
- Camping – I loved going camping with my family as a kid. I remember hanging out in the tent at night listening to the wildlife. This would be a lot of fun to do with my girls.
- Skip-It – I loved, loved, loved my Skip-It. I have had one for a long time and for a long time I haven’t used it. I sold it in a garage sale last year and I was really sad to see it go. Now with my Birthday Resolution, I am really tempted to buy me another one. But this time I would use it!
- Jumping on the trampoline – I don’t know how many hours I spent on the trampoline as a kid. We wrestled on it, we flipped on it, we slept on it. It was probably the most fun with the water hose on it. I have no intention of buying a trampoline, but maybe I can find someone who will let me come over and play on it for a bit.
The more I think about my Birthday Resolution, the more excited I get! I am making it my mission to enjoy the above activities, but I do not want to limit myself to those things. I want to also start having more fun in everyday activities (like pretending the floor is lava or jumping on the shopping cart and coasting down the aisle at the grocery store).
I’d love to hear your comments if you have any suggestions on having more fun!