It’s Okay To Play Hooky With Your Kids

There are some days that life just catches up to me and I just want to take a day off. I don’t want to turn on my computer. I don’t want to see what e-mails have come in. I don’t want to check Twitter or Facebook. I just want to veg out.

And then something wonderful happens. My sweet husband will say, “Hey – let’s go out to dinner tonight – just you and me.” And my day doesn’t seem so hard. Something as simple as that can really just make you happy.

I remember when I was in first grade. I was sitting in Miss Lapin’s class when the school secretary called my name over the intercom to come to the office. I was a good girl! I didn’t talk during class! Why was I being called up to the office??

With my heart beating a mile a minute, I rounded the corner to see my mother smiling at me.

“Am I in trouble?” I said.

“Nope! I have a surprise for you”, my mother said, leading me out of the school.

Thirty-eight years later I can still remember it as if it were yesterday. We drove into Downtown Atlanta to the Fox Theater… (If you’ve never seen the Fox Theater, google it!!!)…to WATCH A MOVIE! During school hours! This was awesome! I looked at my mother. She was grinning at me. My heart burst. I was so excited! This was by far one of the most fun days of my young life.

Me, not too thrilled about going to school

Many years later, I showed up at Matthew’s school to do the same thing. He is a hockey player, and the movie with Kurt Russell about the 1980 Olympic Hockey team that beat the Russian team had just come out. He was dying to see it and said so every time the trailer would come on TV.

I went to the front office and told the office staff that I needed to check him out of school for “an appointment”. Thank goodness they didn’t ask me what for.

As we got to the car he finally asked me what we were doing. I told him to wait and see. We drove to the local mall and he looked at me like I was crazy.

“Shopping? Please, no.” he said.

But when we got to the line to buy movie tickets, things began to fall into place.

“Are we going to watch ‘Miracle’????” he asked, the pitch in his voice raising with each word.

“Yep!” I said.

The grin on his face is one that I will remember for the rest of my life.

Recently, my husband did the same with my step-son, Austin. They went to a midnight release for a video game that he had been saving up for. As Austin was getting ready for bed, Dale said “Hey, get dressed – we have to go somewhere.”

Austin looked confused but did as he was told. As they pulled into the BestBuy parking lot, it began to register that they were there for the game release. Dale said that Austin had that look that I had described to him that Matthew had when I took him to the movie.

Playing hooky from work or school isn’t something to make a big habit of. My mom only did it once with me, and I only did it once with Matthew. It was so special that I wouldn’t want to ruin those memories by doing it over and over.

I realized at that moment that we don’t need to buy our kids expensive gifts or take them to exotic places for them to be happy. It’s really just the little things that they will remember the most.

Matthew recently mentioned that day we played hooky from work and school just to spend the day together, doing something that he really wanted to do.

And I hope he does the same thing with his kids one day, and those “hooky day” memories will continue on for the next generation.

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4th of July Hotdogs & Freedom

By Dana McIntyre  @DanaMcIntyre1

The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays.   Someone is always having a cookout – you can smell the burgers and kabobs on the grill as soon as you walk out of your house.  You hear the squeals of the kids as they do cannonballs into the deep end of the pool.  And you wait patiently for dusk to fall and so that you can begin looking towards the sky in anticipation for the fireworks show to begin.

I remember going to Stone Mountain with my parents and sister every year.  My mom would pack a cooler with drinks and snacks and we would all pile in our old Volkswagen van.  While everyone was heading to the lawn in front of the Stone Mountain carving where the fireworks would be, my dad would drive in and park on the side of the road where we could see the fireworks but could also had semi-easy access to get out before the crowd departed.

The only bad thing about that plan was that he had three girls with him…and there were no bathrooms on the side of the road.  So my mom would walk us to the bathroom (about a mile away) and then by the time we got back the fireworks were almost over.

Other parents clearly had the same great idea as my dad and they would also start to leave the park before the fireworks were completely over, to “beat the crowd”.  It really didn’t help since everyone else had the same great idea, and we would end up sitting in the same spot for more than an hour while my dad’s blood pressure rose and he swore over and over that we would “never do this again.”  Eventually we would make it out of the park but by then, my sister and I were comfortably asleep on the back seat.

Fast forward 20 years and my husband and I just took our kids to the local venue for fireworks.  As we celebrated this beautiful country’s 236th birthday and as we were watching the fireworks blast off, I was reminded of how fortunate we all are.  I realized that the 4th of July has a different meaning to me as an adult.  It’s much more than fireworks and sparklers and hot dogs.  It’s freedom.

And as we all piled back in our SUV to “beat the traffic” home, I heard a little voice coming from the back seat.  “I gotta pee.”

What did you do for the 4th of July this year?

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