This past summer, my family did something we have never done before. We spent a week in three separate places. There have been lots of times when two of us stay home and one of us goes off on an adventure - a business trip, camp or a visit to see friends, but this time none of us were together. It was really different.
That started me thinking about what makes a family close. Is it the amount of time spent together? The types of activities? Having more good times than bad? Maybe it's the reverse, having more bad times than good brings you closer together? It wouldn't surprise me to know that it is different for each family.
I do know that it takes a concerted effort to be close. Hoping there will be plenty of time in your schedule for fun activities, meaningful moments and understanding between the members of your family doesn't make those things actually happen. My husband and I have found it helpful to actually schedule some time to be together on our calendar. That way it becomes a priority. Not all of it has to be scheduled time, though.
We also make sure every moment we spend together isn't an "event". There are lots of great experiences that can happen at a soccer match, an amusement park or a night at the movies, but sometimes the most ordinary time you spend with your family is what makes you close.
My husband has been teaching my son to mow the lawn and make sausage. The three of us ride bikes and cook meals together. My son built a fort in the living room out of cushions and we sat and read books together in it. Not very flashy activities, but they provide opportunities to talk or just be silent without a lot of commotion around us. That's when we really learn to know each other.
Having three separate weeks over the summer, gave us the chance to each try different things that we wanted to do. The opportunity to be separate, made us appreciate being close all the more.
What does your family like to do that brings you closer?