Scene and Herd: Quality Time With Your People

(Part 2 in a series on how to make your family closer by the time the turkey hits the table on Thanksgiving Day.)

 I always get that mama feeling when I should gather my people and we need to spend intentional time together.

I like to call it a sixth sense but perhaps it’s not that subtle.

Maybe it’s because I don’t recognize my husband after a month of janky work/travel schedules. Or it could be a child telling me if I don’t ‘Watch me, mama!’ for the tenth time she’s going to ‘set my computer on fire with this cigarette’

But I always eventually clue in.

And, dang the Facebook highlight reel.

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This is the way it goes in my head:

Scott is in his kerchief and I in my cap…the children gather quietly, eagerly, tenderly around us, just-bathed and smelling of hand-picked lavender with just a hint of cumulous clouds (and what?! You flossed without asking? Darlings!). These precious ones, they are hanging on to every word as Daddy reads to us from the fourth chapter of a lovely novel by Charles Dickens.  Peaceful smiles on their cherubic faces half-lit by the crackling fire, we giggle on into the night where they go.to.bed.and.stay.and.don’t.get.up.again.

Angels.

But…this is real life and instead this is the way it usually plays out:

‘Daddy is going to read Mooseltoe out loud by the fire tonight for us.’

‘I hate Mooseltoe,’ says the boy.

‘Can we read Pinkalicious again?’ says a girl.

‘No.  It’s Mooseltoe so let’s get in here and listen to Dad.’

As soon as the realization hits we will be in the living room with the one couch, there is a mad dash and a short wrestling match to secure coveted spots and the prize blue fuzzy blanket. Dad doesn’t read loud enough and no one can see all the pages and he falls asleep on page 12 (and the boy is making bad smells just to make the girls cry and scream).

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I feel, hear and smell like I am herding mad cattle to get quality time with the family about half the time.

And just when I feel defeated…we have dinner one night and do these family questions we got as a gift last Christmas (the ones you will have a chance to win on the blog today if you leave a comment!).

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The question was:

‘I feel joyful when my family _____________ .’

All five answers varied with colorful verbs and nouns but there was one word that everyone said:

spends time together

They just like being together.  And they won’t remember anything so much as they way we made them feel:

seen and heard

Many, many families do actually spend time together every day.  It looks different than it used to:

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Did you know that currently the average family spends about 36 minutes of quality time together every day because of technology and scheduling demands?

Intention implies an action of force.  So sometimes it will be like herding cattle to peel ourselves away from easiest.  If only our energy levels were as endless as the demands on our time…

But aren’t there the countless moments of accidental perfection that all of us will remember for a lifetime?

I know we all agree…our herd is our most important scene.  And after we love them up and show them how and who they are to us, they can crawl back into their rooms with their iPods and a happy little smile.

This week

  • Take a walk with your family.
  • After dinner, Mom and Dad sit at the table for an extra 15-20 minutes and visit about the day (no kids allowed in the kitchen unless they are cleaning it)*.
  • Take the family out for ice cream after dinner (and the phones stay home).
  • For those with older children, have one night where the family turns in their phones at dinner…and dinner is followed up by a game (after everyone helps clean the kitchen).
  • Have a Movie Night with your family this weekend (popcorn mandatory!)

Advanced Challenge

Go buy this game (there are different versions.  My kids are the ones who remind us to get it out so it is kid-tested and approved) Family Dinner Box of Questions.

 

Double Major Bonus Points 

  • Do all of these challenges this week

 

*My husband and I do this every time we sit and eat and it’s a great way to connect about the day before running the gauntlet of bath/bed/14 glasses of water routine.  It takes some training, and some planning when your babies are smaller but it pays off…now we get a mini-date and our kids come back and clean the kitchen! (double major bonus score)

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16 COMMENTS

  1. Nicole | 14th Nov 14

    #dickensormoostletoe #perfectlyperfect #ilikewhatyoudidthere

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 14th Nov 14

      #ilikethewayyouworkit #nodiggety #youarehashtagawesomesauce #youalwaysgetme #kindascaryhuh

  2. Lisa Davis | 14th Nov 14

    Wish I had had your ideas when I was raising my kids!!! They are now 22 and 27 and I wish my husband and I could have taken more time with them—just for the little things! Thanks for sharing!

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 14th Nov 14

      Well…the truth is…I bet you and your husband did a fantastic job…just like we are doing fine…But once they get older, I don’t know that we ever did ‘good enough’ or ‘spent enough time’ because, goodness, we just miss them, don’t we? (I miss mine and they are still here and they still drive me crazy–mamas!) Now you guys are just having a different kind of fun and you have to bring them home with the promise of food 😉 You guys have a fantastic Thanksgiving. I love hearing from you. Thank you!

  3. Angela Moore | 14th Nov 14

    Love this.. Going to have a movie night this weekend! Sometimes since it’s just Charlee & I, we don’t do family activities. Regardless the size, we are still family.

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 14th Nov 14

      Movie night! (we saw Big Hero 6 last weekend and it was the cutest thing I have seen in awhile!). When Ellis was my last little chicken home, our time was less intentional because WE just always WERE. And I treasure those days, sister. And so does she. It may be a different dynamic some of the time…but yes, you are family (you’re my family, too, so don’t forget that). I love you. Have fun with that sweet, beautiful girl this weekend, Mama (she is such a lady now!!!!!!)

  4. Amanda | 14th Nov 14

    LOVE!!!! 🙂 always real, always inspiring, and always with that sparkle. Your words have the same sparkle that shows in your eyes! Love you!

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 14th Nov 14

      Amanda Bacino. If you would just come on here once and say I suck at a particular topic, you know what I would still say?
      I love you.
      I get your sparkle from your words EVERY SINGLE TIME you comment (which is thankfully often). You have always been such an inside and out beauty…that must be why we moved in with each other across from the makeup counter after about 5 minutes of knowing each other. It’s because you. I. Love. You. (Our date! Soon! Yay!)

      • Amanda | 15th Nov 14

        Girl, you know how to get my heart all squeezed up and emotional!!! I truly believe that one day “we’ll meet again” and pick up where we left off with our friendship. Always a connection at the heart!!! Xoxo!

        • melissablair09@gmail.com | 22nd Nov 14

          We ARE going to meet again and we WILL pick right back up. There are just a few people in life, aren’t there? With that quick, strong connection…if you came and knocked on my door this morning, you would kick your shoes off at the door and I would grab us some coffee and we would sit on my couch for hours and never stop talking. (this is going to happen). I love you.

  5. Randy | 14th Nov 14

    Thanks for the reminders that family-time should be intentional. We definitely relate with the schedules taking us separate directions all the time!

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 14th Nov 14

      I know you do, Randy! I see you out on that soccer field every time we are and I see your girls at drop off for school almost every single day. We are just doin the thang! But I know your kids are PRECIOUS (little Emma is one of my favorite children) and that must be all that family time. (PS You are in the drawing–these questions really are fun.) Thank you for your message!

  6. Jenna Bolster | 14th Nov 14

    I look forward to reading your blog every friday!

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 22nd Nov 14

      Jenna! Thank you for this SO much. I love hearing from you 🙂

  7. Danielle Weston | 17th Nov 14

    TY again lady, a great read.

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 22nd Nov 14

      I love my unexpected hugs from you! Thank you…I love seeing your sweet family every chance I get…you guys make me smile lots more than you know.

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