Accidental Tourists: Making the Most of Our Family Time Together

As my oldest daughter rounds out her junior year of high school, I realize now more than ever that our time together as a family is limited. It all began freshman year, when her school days quickly stretched into late afternoons, evenings, late nights, and even weekends. A passion for Model United Nations and the performing arts will do that to you. And even beyond witnessing firsthand how our time is dwindling down to car rides and stolen moments between scheduled activities, it’s not lost on me that we’ve only got another year and a half before my teenager leaves us for college. I’m reeling over here big time. And because college planning also means financial planning, disposable income seems not nearly as disposable anymore.

I can’t pretend that I don’t think about this stuff all the time, because I do. I know that all the precious time my family gets to spend together is indeed precious. It’s becoming more and more rare, and the time seems to pass more and more quickly. For me — for us — now is the time to make the most of our limited time together, to put quality way before quantity, and to enjoy every minute that we can. Out of all this has come perhaps one of the most important lessons any parent could learn: that keeping it simple is usually when the real magic happens. It’s a refreshing truth that I’m learning each time we spend a rare movie night together, when we get to spend a Sunday morning in our jammies, or when we embark on an unexpected excursion or experience an adventure, sometimes right in our own backyard.

One such adventure occurred at the very end of last summer, when we took a day trip to downtown LA to visit a local landmark and found ourselves wandering around like accidental tourists. It was a fantastic day — close to home, inexpensive, and totally memorable. It helps to remind me that it’s not what we do together that matters, it’s how much we enjoy each other in the process.

What are some of the simple moments that you enjoy most with your family? This season, let’s keep it simple and memorable!

For the story about how Tracey and her teen got here, take a peek at their first post at Reframed.

For more about Tracey and how she elevates the everyday, visit her at

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