Parenting: Long weekends rule

Marc Lalonde
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No schedule to stick to? Priceless


The long weekend we just recently had the good fortune to experience came at exactly the right moment. Work was bearing down on our spare time and the demands of kids' activities are starting to ramp up. The warm weather has arrived, so no one -- in our family anyway – feels all that enthusiastic about going inside and spending any serious amount of time there.

Saturday marked our one scheduled activity: my daughter and son take a jiu jitsu class on Saturday morning at Club West Island in Beaconsfield, and I happily took the opportunity to get in a light workout while they were in their class. That wrapped up about 11:35 on Saturday morning, and after that, we had two and a half days of absolutely no deadlines, no loose ends and no commitments of any kind.

It was glorious.

My son, who at nearly four years old, often grows frustrated because he is continually dragged to his sister's activities, is starting to get involved in his own. He absolutely adores the rough-housing he gets at jiu-jitsu classes – the constant physical challenges really seem to agree with him. When he comes out he's red-faced and thrilled with himself – and he's starting soccer next week (which he is thrilled with), but he really, really needs to have some time to decompress every so often, which this past weekend allowed us to do for him.

So, no commitments, no stress and no running around for us or my son, who whiled away hours on Saturday afternoon playing with his toys in the backyard while we gardened and did yardwork – which left my wife and I red-faced and thrilled with ourselves – and he could not have been happier. That evening, both kids dropped off to sleep with the ease that only a kid who has put in a full day of furiously exerting themselves. The next day was more of the same. My son stayed in his pyjamas until noon, or thereabouts, and objected when asked to go upstairs and put on some clothes.

With no commitments for the afternoon and a beautiful day outside, we packed up some water bottles, some fruit, a football, a Frisbee and a soccer ball and we drove down to Bourgeau Park in Pointe Claire Village to simply while away even more hours kicking a soccer ball around, throwing the Frisbee to each other (poorly, I might add) and climbing trees. Later on, we fired up the barbecue for dinner and ate on the deck – without having to rush, given the freedom of the schedule.

It was glorious.

As the weekend went on, we did all kinds of things off the cuff. We went and got ice cream on a whim. We went to Ovide Park and played there as often as for as long as we cared to, and no one had any place to go. Our daughter went over to a friend's house to play, and didn't have to be back at a given time. The way we spent the weekend was the way I would like to spend most weekends – but given the intriciacies of the hockey/ringette schedule and summer activities, it would appear as though we're only going to get them in the month of May, and there's only one long weekend we are lucky enough to have in May – and the memories we created this weekend will likely get me over the hump and looking forward to this time next year.

On Monday morning, instead of getting up and rushing to school, day care,  work and everything else we are required to go to, we lay around in bed, relaxing and taking our sweet, sweet time getting out of bed. My son and I wrestled until he dissolved into peals of laughter, while my daughter rooted him on in his passionate – but ultimately fruitless -- attempts to pin his father.

It was glorious.

Organizations: West Island

Geographic location: Beaconsfield, Bourgeau Park, Pointe Claire Village Ovide Park

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