Thursday, September 25, 2014

What If...

I am an idea girl. I always have been. "I have an idea!" pretty much I think it's a curse. Sometimes a blessing. A curse because a lot of times the "ideas" drive me nuts because I don't know how to implement them. What good is an idea without the "do" part?

Thankfully I have a very kind husband that lets me unload all my ideas onto him. Not that he is expected to do them, but at least he hears me and I get to let some stuff out of my mind so I can make room for the next batch of ideas.  

Guess what? I had an idea today. It's not a new idea, just a shined up old idea, a forgotten treasure idea.

A common theme in my life lately is recognizing that we need more more more family time. We do a lot, but it is in bursts and crammed in between other commitments. We don't 'slow our roll' enough to really breathe each other in. I want to breathe my family in. I love them! They are my heart and soul and they deserve more attention than quick check-ins and rushed meals together. They deserve my undivided attention and they deserve my celebratory spirit. But the thing is, I am not always good at making space for that kid of attention. MY FAULT! However, what if...

What if as a community we realized that there are all kinds of family units that could use a little help and support in making time for what is most important - FAMILY! What if we decided to create holiday moments that celebrate the core of what makes life good? What if we created parent-child days?

I know...I know, places already do this, like Chili's! Chili's recently hosted a father-daughter night in which dads and daughter could enjoy a dinner together, but then they could wander off to a station to make cute princess tiaras and decorated picture frames. Staff at Chili's were snapping pictures of these moments and printing them on demand so fathers and daughters left their evening with a completed memento that reminded them of a fun night out together.

That artsy foam sticker decorated frame and the cheapy little picture is now one of the main treasures that sits atop my husbands desk.

I think we could use more of these moments. I think our community could make it happen! What if a buncha different businesses teamed up to make the opportunity for more family celebration? What if? 

I think there would be a little more joy in the world, a little more bonding in the world, and a little more feeling special in the world. 

I think little girls would feel adored and I think little boys would feel valued. I think moms and dads would feel lifted up and would be reminded that THIS is the meat of life. I think it would be good for us.

Oh, and let's be clear, this isn't just for the littles. The truth is, we never EVER outgrow the need to feel adored and valued. This is for us adult children, too.

I am a grown, middle-aged woman with gray hair... but when my mom and I go have coffee together, I may as well be 12 years old. I love feeling like I am my mom's little girl, even being in my 40's!  I love being at her side and hearing her talk to me, talk with me, and having all her focus on just the two of us.

I will also never outgrow hearing my mom say she is proud of me. Equally, I will never tire of her asking about my life. Likewise, she will never outgrow hearing me tell her that I love and appreciate her,and boy do I appreciate her! (Love you, Mom!!)

So what if the community recognized we all need more family time and they created more moments for us to make it happen? More events and reasons for us to be with one another in fabulous settings?

What if a local upscale restaurant decorated the tables in pink flowers and had pretty wine glasses filled with Koolaid so dads could take their daughters on a "fancy" date? What if mom's helped their little ladies put on their most beautiful dresses and and daddies knocked on the door and asked them out? (ohhh, this might be right up Mile Wine Company's alley!!)

What if a local burger joint (MooMoo's?) provided a mom-son dinner special for two burgers and shakes? The mom-son duo could enjoy a meal before heading to a movie together! A movie theater could get in on the theme by having reserved seating for mother-son's! What if  a place that is known for having fabulous live music (Whirlow's?) offered up a special menu just for "mom and son" or "dad and daughter"?

I think this idea is a winning combo that could provide opportunities to celebrate our families as well as create the opportunity to support local businesses! And NONE of it needs to be a competition! Everyone, all businesses could offer something, providing a wide variety of options to suit different family dynamics!

Working together is a whole other issue I could discuss. Just ask me about the time my daughter was in a play at Stockton Civic Theater for a full 4 days straight. Each night people were looking for flowers and gifts to adorn their little budding actors and actresses. Each night I found wilted bunches of flowers and ridiculous prices :( Why not team up and make special, affordable bouquets and dinner specials that celebrated our community's live theater and the children and families that delighted sold out crowds? Why not?

But back to the original idea (I told you, I am an idea girl, a million more thoughts are popping around my head RIGHT NOW!). Could we create opportunities in the community that would help us to become stronger and healthier families? Together? As a team? And make it holiday like? I think so.  I think every 3 months there should be another special opportunity to take our families out and celebrate and to be welcomed specifically by businesses. Pishaw... we celebrated asparagus as a community, I think we could do even better to celebrate relationships! Win Win, I say. When? When?

In the meantime, here are some fun things you can do with the kiddos for your very own date nights. You will see that while the titles may include a gender -- the activities are interchangeable! Girls can do Boy things and Boys can do Girl things... the gift is doing what suits THEM and what is unique to YOU. 

Some suggestions:

  • Put away the phone! Unless it is to take selfies/usies.  Selfies and Usies are highly encouraged on date nights!
  • Get in the game! Don't take the kiddos and sit on the sidelines -- get involved! Swing on the swing, play the game, don the laser tag gear -- GET IN THE GAME!
  • Smile - a lot! Laugh - even more! Show them that you are having fun. Tell them you are having fun. Have Fun!
  • Let the kids pick the places to eat, let them pick the foods to eat, let them choose the radio station, let them be an equal in the fun-making.
  • Set the tone. Put away the authority and bring out your inner child. They know who you are, but surprise them with more of the kid side they may not see as often.
  • If possible, take only one child. That one-on-one time is important. But SET A DATE with the other kids so they know their time is coming.
  • Tie the date into their real life. Have a child learning the drums - take them to a concert! You get the idea.
  • At the end of the date -- thank them! Thank the child for a great time! Have them plan the next one!

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