Not being able to go to: playgrounds or parks, the library’s children’s programs or children’s play area, the indoor play centers at fast food places, children’s museums, zoos/aquariums/outdoor wildlife parks, indoor children’s gyms or play facilities let alone take advantage of date night options or babysitters-it has left parents burnt out.
All of these places provide experiential learning and socializing where we are able to participate (aka have fun). These opportunities provide a chance to take a step back and breathe-hold a conversation with another adult- while still giving our children something they want and need.
Whatever your “normal” outlet(s) or way(s) of getting a break-for you-for your children- I know it has been hard to do without. My extroverted son has been ready and waiting for a break from the two location (home and daycare) cycle, and so have we.
This past Thursday we got a much needed break at the coast. We drove over in the morning arriving at the fishing port that L and I have been to many times but Z had never seen.
We got lunch at one of our favorite fish places. It felt almost surreal to eat at a restaurant (even if it was outside) with music playing in the background, others at tables around us, the fog of the ocean, and a view of the fishing boats. Z loved being somewhere completely new; seeing other families with kids his age doing the same thing.
After lunch we went a state park where you can drive you car out on the beach. It felt so nice to take our shoes off in the car and step right into the warm sand, feel the cool breeze, and smell the salty air.
Z immediately plopped down to play in the sand and it was like we all breathed a sigh of relief.
After awhile L and Z rolled up their pants and headed towards the rolling waves. I chose to “hold down the fort”.
Watching from the car I was surprised to see how brave and curious Z was in the ocean. L and Z ran away from the waves and tried to jump over them. At one point Z just sat down as the small ones rolled in.
Needless to say, Z “just putting his feet in” turned into being soaked from feet to chest. When he finally admitted he was getting cold we dried off. Z wrapped up in a warm blanket in the car and fell asleep almost at once.
It was one of those days where you breath a sigh of relief, you laugh watching those you love having fun, and cry with gratitude and joy at a chance to put all the craziness aside to just be together.
I am so glad we were able to have this experience before our little guy arrives.
I am hoping and praying that you all also find much needed breaks as we head into summer.