Before we had children, if you would have asked what life skills I hoped to impart on our kids, somewhere on list probably would have been the ability to stick to their convictions and intelligently state the basis for their opinions. Now well into their teens, I can say that our children have all but mastered this. As an attorney, to hear the kids competently defend their positions is a point of pride. As their mother, at times it can be, well, a challenge.
I do not think my kids’ penchant for debate is unique. Siblings in particular are wired with an inherent talent for digging in on opposite sides of any given issue, even if it is as simple as deciding on a game to play. When they were little, if I suggested some family game time, inevitably our daughter would want one board game, our son another, and neither would want to budge. At all. Depending on my mood, energy level, and parenting prowess that day, we would wind up with either a mediated compromise (success), me throwing up my hands and declaring that we just wouldn’t play a game at all (tears), or me giving up completely and suggesting ice cream instead (cheers!).
Given this history, it should not have come as a surprise that our family of four could not agree on what to do over spring break this year. Normally, we plan vacations months in advance. This year, in deference to our daughter who (understandably) wanted some time at home during her break from college, we decided not to script this year’s break and instead to “go with the flow” once it arrived. Side note: “go with the flow” is decidedly NOT within our family’s natural skill set.
We had distinct and disparate opinions about where to go, when to go, and what to do once we got there. The two youngest in the family were firmly entrenched in their positions, arguing back and forth over the span of several days trying to get each other (and their parents) to concede. My husband and I finally defaulted to the whole “we’re the parents” spiel, putting an end to the debate when we just could not take it any more.
Ultimately, we decided to stick to our original plan to spend a long weekend at Lake Tahoe – a traditional gathering place for our family. All of the indecision and angst that preceded the visit fell away once we landed. We settled, happily, into our mountain routine. There was time spent skiing and spa-ing, running and dining. There were card games and s’mores, dog walks and at-home omelette bars. Instead of retreating to our individual spaces like we tend to do at home, at The Lake we gravitated toward each other instead. As a mom, who craves time with her growing family together under one roof, especially under a roof that contains so many family memories, it was perfect.
Which brings me back to the board game debates when the kids were little. Without fail, once we actually sat down to play, our daughter and son would forget their battle about what game they wanted in the first place. The only thing that really mattered was that we were playing together, as a family.
And it was fun.