When I was a kid growing up in Trinidad, my dad was a workaholic petroleum engineer, who often left for work before I woke in the morning, and would frequently return late at night. It wasn’t surprising, really. He loved his job, and was passionate about what he did. That said, there was one thing he was was religious about:
Every summer, without fail, he would insist that our family go away for a family vacation.
It’s not like we were rolling in it — while occasionally our family vacation would be to somewhere exotic, like the United States, it often was simply to our neighbouring island of Tobago, or even another area of Trinidad. And when we were on vacation, he totally unwound: this was obviously in times before laptops and cellphones, but he also made sure to tell his office not to contact him while he was away, and he never checked into the office. In his mind, his vacation days were part of his compensation, and he was going to use them to totally focus on his family.
Couple this with the fact that as parents, we only have 18 summers with each of our kids, and his logic is irrefutable.
For this reason, I’ve become pretty fanatical about taking a summer vacation with my family. And like in my childhood, while we’ve had an exotic vacation or two (last year, we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary in Paris), this year money is tight, so we’re likely going to do something closer to home. We might even take a page from my friend Maile, and just check into a local hotel for a weekend. Or, God help me, my husband and daughter might convince me to go camping. But nevertheless, we’re going to do something.
Because I’m of the firm belief that a change of scenery with the people you love is a beautiful way to strengthen family bonds, and create lasting memories.
What about you — what are your togetherness-plans for the summer?