The best laid plans of parents sometimes go astray

Marc Lalonde
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Trying to maximize every weekend left in the summer

parenting

With some old friends in town — sort of — for the summer, we hoped to catch up with them for some serious lake-themed downtime. It’s always great to see them, but even better is that our kids are all roughly the same ages, so they naturally gravitate toward each other, which is awesome, thereby leaving us to gossip, drink adult beverages and discuss golf scores, football and other topics that leave kids bored and prone to making messes I have to clean up.

It’s awesome. So awesome, in fact, that the two-hour trip to see them flies by in a matter of what feels like minutes and we try to make sure that we have a few days free in the middle of August so we can hang out, unfettered by real-life schedules.

That, of course, was easier when our kids were too young for real activities involving commitments and registration fees, but now, we find ourselves overscheduled like many families with young children. There wasn’t one single day this summer where we were completely free of scheduled activities, free to spend the day idling by the fan, walking aimlessly through one of the West Island’s beautiful villages or half-napping and half-reading by the pool.

Nope, at every point there was something scheduled, and the weekend of Aug. 18-19 was supposed to be free of obligation.

Instead, my daughter swam well in her Association of Lakeshore Pools (ALPS) section finals swim meet held Aug. 11 at Riverside Park Pook in LaSalle and qualified for the finals – made up of the swimmers with the best six times across ALPS’ three sections — on Saturday morning around 9:30 a.m. Good-bye Friday night by the lake in St. Faustin de Lac Carre, good-bye adult beverages and golf-score discussions (for Friday night, at least) and hello racing-up-to-the-Laurentians-like-crazy-people after her race on Saturday morning.

Awesome.

The worst part is my kids aren’t even that old yet. Only one of the two is old enough to have organized activities – so when the other one starts getting into sports and other appointment-based pastimes, I assume we’ll have even less family downtime than we have now. In fact, just the thought of it makes me long for snowy Friday nights in February when nothing is scheduled the next morning – and the only thing to do is stay inside and hang out together.

I am quite aware that there will be times when I won’t even want to be in the same room as my children, but for now, I would just love for us to be able to do some things on our own terms, rather than be a slave to the schedule as we find ourselves now.

Of course, at that point they’ll probably tell me they’re bored.

Children are a blessing.

Organizations: Association of Lakeshore Pools

Geographic location: West Island, LaSalle

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  • J.Scott Waugh
    August 16, 2012 - 17:01

    Great article Mark...!......We had 5 kids scheduled......I hear ya man.... (: Scott