This is going to be one crazy summer for the McGinnis family. Last week was the only week all summer without a camp, mission trip, or major activity. So naturally, it became the best week for our annual Summer Vacation. Our family goes to Hilton Head just about every summer. It’s something we look forward to all year. It’s our one time to completely un-plug and just be together as a family.
Now, before you get this beautiful picture in your head of our six angels lined up on the beach standing perfectly still with smiles on their faces, just waiting for the camera to click, you need to get a slight reality check. Please understand that we have 2 teenage daughters, 2 over-active elementary aged students, and 2 preschoolers. Throw them all into a hot van for 12 hours and shake it all up… and that might look a little closer to reality.
With that being said, Aime and I work really hard at having accurate expectations of everyone. We expect our teenagers to act like teenagers and our preschoolers to act like preschoolers. It just goes a lot better when you remember that a 3 year old can’t (and won’t) sit still for longer than 2 minutes and that you’re going to get an attitude from time to time out of your teenager. When you keep a good perspective on the vacation you’re just going to have a lot more fun.
Every year vacation looks and feels a little different. Why? Each of us look and feel a little different than we did the year before. (Except for my wife who somehow has managed to look exactly the same for the last 18 years.) Although every year is a little different, there are a few things that remain the same.
Here are four phrases that we say every year… and mean.
“Stay with Your Beach Buddy”
This is one we picked up a couple years ago- It’s so much easier to keep up with everyone in the family when they’re together… looking out for one another. We want our kids to grow up always looking out for each other. One of our core values is Family First… and we mean it.
“No Phones, Computers, iPods, or Anything Else You Feel that You NEED to Have”
We shut it all off. In a day and age when the small screen rules, we need to work diligently on shutting it down. Too many families believe that being in the same proximity is the same as being together. It’s not! We want our kids to grow up knowing how to be present with those around them and not glued to a screen.
BTW- this rule is a lot easier for the kids than it is for me!
“Leave Mom and Dad Alone for Just a Few Minutes”
Ok, we’re all about family time, but sometimes I just need some alone time with my wife. Even on vacation, we try to go out on a date… just the two of us. This year, I caught myself occasionally kicking the kids out of the room or I’d make them go inside while Aime and I sat out on the balcony, just so that we could be alone.
All of my kids know that I love them deeply, but that I love mommy more! My wife and I know that there will be a time when all the kids are gone and all that’s left is us …and we’re going to be ready for that stage of life too!
“The Little Ones Will Act Like You”
This is a phrase that we tell the older kids all the time. We all need to be reminded that we’re constantly being watched. Our kids are picking up our habits, mannerisms, and disciplines. They’re always learning from us… even when we’re not teaching. The most important life lessons are caught not taught!
So we just got back from vacation last night and we’ve already sent one teenager off to Cincinnati for a Mission Trip. Journey Week is next week for our little ones and then a few more weeks of Mission Trips, and camps. Soon, sports will start up again and before you know it summer is over and school is here again.
Summer might be a little crazy around the McGinnis home every year, but I guarantee, it’s a good kind of crazy!