Photo: During one plan-less weekend this past fall, my boys collected leaves from all over the neighborhood and made a huge leaf pile on the street. I’ve never seen them work so hard and so passionately!
The last couple of weekends, my family had a totally empty schedule – no sports games, birthday parties, play dates, etc. In fact, we didn’t even make a plan to go anywhere like a zoo or park.
So, every morning, we woke up without anything in particular to do. When my wife was in charge, she came up with an idea of where to take our boys (7, 4, and 2) and she loaded them into the minivan. However, when I was in charge, our boys and I wandered around our yard and neighborhood.
Sounds boring, eh?
Actually, we weren’t bored at all. In fact, two of those days were really fantastic, one even qualifying as one of those cherished days I’ll remember the rest of my life.
We walked down the street to a dry creek bed by our house. There, we hiked around playing with rocks and sticks. Most of the time, I let them go on their own, and I went on my own foraging projects. When we got hungry, I put the two young boys in a stroller and we walked to downtown Palo Alto, a mile away. The boys stopped frequently along the way to pick up various little things, alternately playing catch and chase with them. We went to The Creamery for lunch and they feasted on sugary and starchy stuff their mom doesn’t approve of. Our favorite waitress, Amy, waited on us, and Nico (4) sang “Amy, What You Gonna Do?” to her. We chatted with a very nice woman next to us who, Marco (7) and I agreed, looks exactly like our cousin Anna Maria from Italy. Then, we walked home, taking a brief detour at a park. They boys played more games of catch and chase all the way home.
It was a collection of really nice moments, strung together by chaos. We were all firing on all cylinders, totally living in the moment, totally enjoying each other.