On the way home from church I told the kids that we were going to have a ‘family day’. That meant no friends, we weren’t going anywhere, and we would spend the entire day just hanging at home with the family. Neither one argued so I knew I was right in thinking that we all just needed a break.
It was a fun day. We put on pj’s the minute we got home, the kids helped fix lunch, we played board games, watched movies they picked out, J showed me how awesome his new video game was, we colored – all-in-all a wonderful, restful day.
The issue was all the OTHER kids. My kids had no problem with me telling their friends that they couldn’t play because we were having ‘family time’, but when I explained this to the children that kept showing up at our door, you’d think I had grown a third eye and began speaking in tongues. Blank stares, confused responses of “so can they play later?” – and those were the articulate ones. Some were so lost they just lingered in the yard until they finally realized that the kids really weren’t coming out to play today.
I tried to place where I had seen such baffled expressions recently. Then it hit me – their parents had looked at me with the same confusion a week earlier when I explained I was walking to a girl’s house in the neighborhood whose parents I hadn’t met yet. Since my kids aren’t allowed to play at someone’s house until I’ve met their mom or dad, I walked with the kids and their friends to meet the girl’s parents.
Again, utterly lost expressions.
Now, I realize I’m a little stricter than other parents, but I remember growing up when every Sunday was family day. And my father walked me into my friend’s house when I was 16 because he hadn’t met her parents before. Are these things really so outdated today that other kids don’t even know what ‘family time’ means? I hope not. But it sure does seem that way sometimes.