I've now had two similar conversations in the past three days regarding the difference between what we want as adults and what our kids want (and we wanted as kids). I can't put my finger on the moment in my life when my priorities and desires made the shift. I'm curious if it was a quick change or just a slow progression that snuck up on me, but in all honesty, I just don't recall.
My kids suggested tonight at the dinner table that we should switch roles for a day to see how it goes. At first, my wife and I just laughed it off with thoughts of how their crazy day would go. In their minds, they're thinking they would start the day off with a plate full of donuts and a tall glass of chocolate milk. After breakfast, they would transition into a movie watching marathon while continuing to munch on fun snacks like m&m's, cheese puffs and an ice cream cones.
Eventually, they would tire of watching movies and want to run around like little crazies in the yard. If they're anything like their old man, it would probably involve flooding the back yard, breaking a few windows and probably a bone or two. This would create quite a hunger as they burn off all their youthful energy. That hunger would be satisfied by eating a large banana split for lunch....because bananas ARE healthy. I think you get the idea. You probably had the same grand ambitions as a kid.
The more my wife and I thought about it though, the more we liked the idea. We wouldn't be thrilled about cleaning up the wake of destruction left by our unrestrained kids, but we think the benefits sound appealing. You're wondering, what benefits?!? Well, here's the idea we had....
We said we would be the perfect children for a whole day. We promised to sleep in until at least 9am so we wouldn't be be under foot during the early hours of the morning. We would quietly eat a healthy breakfast of cereal, fruit and possibly a bagel. (We would even prepare it ourselves.) After that, we promised to sit quietly out on the porch and read books so we weren't in the way while they cleaned the house and did a few loads of laundry.
After a peaceful morning, we would sit down at the kitchen table for a relaxing lunch. We promised to respectfully start our nap time without complaint and stay in bed until we were told we could wake up and play again. Following naps, we would love to go to the pool for the afternoon. We even promised not to run around or fight over pool toys. We would just sit by the side of the pool with a "juice" in our hand so they could enjoy some refreshing fun in the pool.
After a nice afternoon in the sun, we would be ready to have a nice quiet dinner with the family while enjoying a pleasant conversation about our day. Bath time would go off without a hitch....I'm sure my wife would love a nice hot bath as she doesn't get many of those these days. After that, we'd be off to bed with no complaints and asleep before dark.
When you look at it like that, the whole idea of switching roles doesn't seem so crazy. Like I said before, I don't know when my priorities shifted. I remember waking up as a kid at 5am on Saturdays wondering when the cartoons would start. Now I'd love to sleep in. I used to hit the ground running and not stop until dark. Now nothing beats a day of sitting back and relaxing....especially if it involves a chair, a beach, a boat, a fishing rod, or preferably, a combination of them. I remember not all that long ago when I could stay out until 3am and still be up for work, ready to go, at 7am. Now my wife and I wonder where the time went when we realize it's 10pm and we're still awake.
I have thought of one thing that hasn't changed though. My girls can sit and chit chat about nothing all day long.....and I just finished rambling on for way too long. Thank you to those of you who actually stayed awake through this whole story. Until next time....