Growing up, our winter breaks were spent hunkered down at home with family and friends. In fact, the only time we boarded a plane as kids was the summer my dad took us home to his beloved Ireland.
I guess you could say we hibernated. And we never minded it; luckily, neither do my kids.
After a much-too-short road trip to Ottawa to visit family and friends, eat pancakes in the woods, and feed chickadees from our hands, we returned home and threw our door open. And open it stayed for the rest of the week.
My parents had that kind of home—where everyone came and settled in for awhile. Our kitchen was always loaded with food and the front door was in constant motion. There was never a limit to the number of people or length of stay. We'd pile blankets on the family room floor and live there for days. If our friends had working parents, they came and stayed for the day, and sometimes the night, too. Visits from cousins added more chaos and lots of fun.
I'd like to tell you that growing up in such a house made it just as easy for me to do the same, but hoooo-boy I have my weaknesses. And letting kids be kids is a big one. I'm a worrier and that extends to other people's kids when they are here.
In the earlier days of parenthood, I found the chaos of a full house very stressful. But I'm working on it. It's important for my kids, I know that. And it's getting easier now that I don't have an infant or wobbly toddler to chase.
I love the sounds of laughter from every corner of the house and the sight of my children spending time with people other than us. It's those moments that give me perspective or show me a new side of their personalities.
For five days, we filled our home with people and noise. We sat at overcrowded tables on unmatched chairs and stayed up way past our bedtimes. We drank a lot of wine (the grown ups) and ate SO MUCH dim sum. We played board games and went on walks that got us really, really muddy.
I'm already looking forward to next year.
What about you? Do you stay close to home or fly far away?