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Memories Without a Plan

So last week Number 4 turned 17. We have this whole tradition we do around everyone’s birthday. There is the regular “Happy Birthday” song followed by two other songs meant to keep the birthday boy or girl in the limelight a little longer. They were always sung at all of my family’s birthday parties and we have kept the tradition going every year. At the end of it all, the one celebrating the birthday, stands up and announces their age to everyone and we all applaud and cheer, followed shortly after by a smearing of the recipient’s name on the cake(Kori family tradition).

This year was going to be a little different as Kori wouldn’t be home to celebrate with us as she was out of town on business. It was just Number 3 and Number 4 at home with me so we decided to Facetime the rest of the family as we all love to sing to the birthday boy. I got Kori on my computer, Number 1 on my phone and we patched Number 2 on with Number 4’s phone. It was like we were all together at the house and just sitting around the dinner table celebrating another birthday.

The best part about the whole thing, is none of it was planned. We just decided to include everyone and it worked out amazingly. Before we knew it an hour had gone by in the blink of an eye. The cake was gone, the kitchen was cleaned up and the conversation continued. We found out all about Kori’s work trip, Number 1’s week at school, Number 2’s Young American week in Cali and the planning that was going into Number 3’s study aboard trip to Tanzania this summer.

Finally Number 4 said he still wasn’t done with his homework so he had to go and work on that and so we finished up our conversations and said our “good nights.” It was a night to remember. And to think what it could have been had we not decided to Facetime the rest of the family. Sometimes it doesn’t have to be a big drawn out plan that makes for a great memory. The most important thing sometimes is just to think outside the box and be ready for anything.

Over the years, those are the things that the kids remember. Kori decided the night before spring break one year that we would get up in the morning and drive to South Dakota, eat sandwiches out of our van and find a hotel when we got tired. To this day, that is the most memorable trip that all four of our kids remember. We have gone to Disney 4 time and been on 2 different cruises but each one will always say that trip.

Late nights on the weekend were always the times to be ready for the best conversations. We have had many with our girls sitting at the breakfast bar eating ice cream and talking about what they wanted to talk about. Our girls are very different but over the years, they have come to respect and appreciate their sister’s point of view. The boys will chime in every once in awhile and I am sure that will continue as they get older. We are gonna have to get more stools for the breakfast bar because I won’t want to miss those discussions either.

My best advice for parents of teens is to be ready for anything because you never know what will lead to a memory for your kids. I often wonder how many times I may have shut down the making of a memory because of a mood or attitude I had. You know what I mean, when the day can’t end soon enough and all you want is for them to all go to bed and leave you alone? Hope I am not the only one. LOL. Well I guess I will never know. For now I am happy for all the great memories we have and we continue to make without a plan.

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