We just got back from a week visiting family in Philadelphia. We took an early flight, waking the girls up before dawn, not getting coffee until the plane had taken off. But, the payoff is getting home before noon, getting a load of laundry started while the girls take a pre-lunch, post-plane bath. It means taking naps and quickly getting back into a normal routine.
Our annual trip to the east coast is falling into a rhythm. We always visit Longwood Gardens, an incredible estate filled with winding paths, tree houses, a conservatory right out of the pages of Miss Rumphius, and an enchanting children’s garden. We always spend at least a little time at Linvilla Orchards, playing and eating apple doughnuts. We take a family trip into Philadelphia, seeing the sights and instilling the exposure to history in the girls. This year, we visited the Betsy Ross House, something Bea had been talking about since our last (disappointing) visit to the Liberty Bell.
We spend time playing with cousins, baking with MomMom, and exploring the forest. Bedtimes are stretched and naps are taken in the car. Sweets are eaten more than normal and special treats are the norm.
In so many ways, our regular routine is thrown out the window. But, it’s been neat seeing the routines that are established, even if the visit only happens once a year. It’s amazing what Bea remembers from past visits and what she expects from each one. The magical thing about cousins is that it’s pretty easy to pick up right where the relationship left off.
Parenting in a different home, in a different city, on a different schedule looks well, different, too. A lot of the burden is lifted, as Frank and I are together the whole week. Aunts help manage emotions and redirection is better received when it’s from a fresh adult. Because we’re out of our element, behavior is often not even an issue. Bea is too busy having fun with her cousins.
In a lot of ways, this month of delving into StrengthsFinder has reminded me of parenting on vacation. I’ve had to put what I know about myself to the test, in uncharted territory. Opening up, examining my personality in such a public way, has made me more reflective of what I do in my daily routine. What works, what needs improving?
Now that this challenge is almost over and life can go back to “normal,” I’m wondering what my take-aways will be. How will I transfer all I’ve learned this month into a daily practice? That’s always the key, isn’t it? Taking what we’ve learned, testing it out in the real world, and then tweaking it for the long haul.
How do you take what you’ve learned and turn it into a sustainable practice?
This post is Day 30 of the Write 31 Day Challenge. I’m spending the month of October writing about the StrengthsFinder test. You can find the entire series over at Live Your Strengths page.