I took the day off work with a plan to take the kids skiing. I had been working a lot of overtime and my kids needed to spend some time with me without any distractions.I woke up early, made the kids a hearty breakfast and started to pack up our ski gear.
My husband had spent the night coughing and when I went in the bedroom to change he lifted his head from the pillow and said he wasn’t well enough to come.
I was disappointed.
I questioned for a few minutes if we should go. If he couldn’t come maybe none of us should go.
Just as the guilt started to creep in, I decided that there was no reason we couldn’t go without him. My husband would have a quiet house to rest in and we could go spend some quality time together on the slopes.
We spend a lot of time together as a family.
When one kid has a hockey game we all pile up in the car and go watch. When the other has a swim meet we are all in the stands together cheering. We spend mornings at the skating rink, afternoons wandering the museum and evenings watching movies all together.
Doing so much together has helped us grow close as a family. We have created so many memories that I know have left a lasting impact on my kids. My son will often remember moments out of the blue “Remember when we went to that skating rink near the library and stopped for hot chocolate after?”
The memories are sticking with him.
But as my kids get older they are each developing their own interests. We don’t always feel like doing the same thing at the same time.
My son loves to skate. He could spend hours at an outdoor skating rink racing around and around. The cold doesn’t bother him. While my daughter enjoys ice skating, she doesn’t love it. I think she looks forward to the hot chocolate afterwards more than the actual skating.
My daughter, on the other hand, must have been a fish in a past life because she adores swimming. She wants to swim all year round and we’ve been known to hit up our local public pool when the temperature outside is hovering around -25. My son enjoys swimming but coming out of the public pool and hitting that ice cold air isn’t his favourite way to spend a Saturday night.
Sometimes we all go together. We know that we have to make the effort to do things that others in the family like to do even if it’s not top of our list.
What I’m learning is that it’s ok for us to do things separately as well. My husband bonds with our son when they go for early morning skates while my daughter and I stay home doing face masks and painting our nails. I will spend quiet time wandering the library with my son while my husband takes my daughter to paint pottery.
Truth is, my husband doesn’t have the same passion for skiing as my kids and I do. He’s learning to ski so that he can be a part of something that we love. He enjoys our afternoons on the slopes but he spends most of his time on the learner hills practicing his turns and perfecting his stops. He’s doing amazing, learning to ski in your 40’s isn’t easy but he’s out there with us getting better each and every time.
While he would have been happy to join us had he been feeling well I don’t think he had a fear of missing out while he was sleeping in and we were going up and down the chair lift.
My kids and I had a wonderful day together. We laughed and joked. We cheered each other on. We pushed each other, or rather, my kids pushed me out of my comfort zone.
We spent the quality time together that my kids really needed. The time they needed with me alone.
I love the time we spend together as a family. I don’t ever want that to change. I hope my kids continue to want to spend time with us even as they get older. But time alone with my kids, both individually and the two of them, is important too. It allows us to connect in a different way.
What our little ski trip taught me is that I need to make sure I spend more time alone with my kids. Be it a trip to Starbucks for a hot chocolate and a cookie or an entire day at a ski resort, they need that time alone with me. And maybe even more so, I need that time alone with them.