Sometimes it is important to be reminded about things that you have already heard many times, the things that you are well aware of. Often you don’t realize that some universal receipts do really work and that you need to apply them now. Everyday routine and habits are addictive and at times you think that the things that you do not really like are just part of your life. Instead of changing these things, you often try to get used to them.
I’d like to thank my sister, who decided to spend her holiday together with my family. At the end of May, when she arrived to Tbilisi, she spent the whole month living in our family routine. My usual everyday life turned out to be alarming for her, before then, I always thought that my life wasn’t any different from that of others.
Monday to Friday
Every morning starts with a one-hour battle and yelling before the kids finally wake up. Then I start preparing their bags for sports and the music lessons, at the same time looking desperately for my husband’s constantly disappearing socks and the belt. Afterwards, during the breakfast, I remind all of them about their obligations and hurry them up to get in the car. On my way, being irritated by traffic or the quarrel among children, moreover obsessed with the fear of being late I start barking. After dropping my kids at school, I feel like a losing an unequal struggle. Neither are my evenings different, when I feel like losing the Battle of Waterloo. After work, after listening to the comments by the music teacher, after looking for the birthday presents for my kids in traffic, after their 40-person party, when I finally get home, the only thing that I have enough time and energy for is giving instructions. Nobody has cancelled the next day preparations either… and so it goes on for the whole week…
On weekends we all try to escape from our everyday lives, the kids are going to the cinema or sports games with friends, we the adults perform our social duties and try to rest separately from each other if there’s any time left at all. On Monday everything starts all over again. One day, when my sister and I took the kids to school and went to a café to have a cup of coffee she started off shyly by remembering our past. Remember how we loved when, instead of our Dad taking us to school with his car, mom would take us using the public transport? Dad would always grumble, while our mom would buy extra bus tickets for us and if we got same number tickets, would make us make wishes.
Once she ran after the bus holding our school bags, she got in and the door closed. We were left outside, and she returned on a taxi to take us and made us laugh about her so hard. Such moments are never forgotten. Do you remember when our father took us to Zedazeni forest? she asked – How our spaniel Gabi fell into the river and how dad saved him?. We went deep, the memory lane remembering the holidays we’ve spent together hiking, sitting by the fire, playing football, the happy faces of our parents and the joy of childhood. My sister advised taking our vacation during the school holidays and travelling somewhere together. I nodded mechanically and went to my psychotherapist for the consultation, to find out the reasons behind my constant irritation. And when the therapist told me the same, I immediately decided to consider all her recommendations and began planning our joint holiday.
Below I’ll share my therapist’s opinion about the importance of a family vacation:
In the modern era, which gives us very little time for real-life communication, where children are involved in daily routine, choirs and internet just like their parents, when we all are behind.
Family get-togethers and trips are sometimes the only opportunity for parents to listen to their kids, play with them, or pamper and just get to know them better. Often, being cought up in the daily choirs, we don’t have enough time for all of this. Moreover, the routine and responsibilities for children often require strictness and discipline from parents as well as proper time management. Therefore, holidays become even more important, a time off from responsibilities, where there’s room adventures and mutual joy.
And what’s most important in a family holiday or at least in spending the time together, is the sense of safety for children, which further helps them overcome stress and anxiety.
What does experience mean, or what do kids learn observing their parents? They learn social relationships, behavior standards and just how grown-ups spend their free time. That is why a holiday spent together should be more about adventure rather than just relaxation or pleasure. At this time, both children and parents are learning things about each other or the world, the things that stay unforgettable and experiences in the memories and consciousness of the kids.
Naturally, every family is different and sometimes spending time together could be stressful for children, especially if they get constant criticism for their actions and habits. In these situations, when the family members are unable to coexist peacefully even during holidays, getting some rest from each other could be the best way out. This would give each member of the family a chance to rest with dignity, without the need to claim that they are also good or deserve more.
Spending the vacation together and family gatherings are a great opportunity to strengthen family ties, increase the sense of safety, learn and gain experiences. However, in order for the holidays to be unforgettable and joyful, we should remember that during these magical days we shouldn’t criticize each other, neither should we remind each other of old mistakes, we shouldn’t quarrel or get upset. Because despite our different interests and desires – we are together to get some rest! The holidays will be more memorable if we spend them near the forests, rivers or sees, if we go hiking or camping, if we sit around bonfires, plant trees or build the birdhouses. Being close to nature is the best for our physical and spiritual wellbeing.
After discussing the possibilities and activities we wanted to engage in and after searching for a place to spend our family holiday, Lopota Lake Resort and Spa turned out to be the perfect match. A place we were able to create interesting adventures for every family member in a comfortable environment.
I will never forget the horseback tour, which was conducted by the experienced local guide. Horses Lazare and Makvala were chosen to match the characters of my husband and me. My younger daughter Nutsa was given an obedient pony called Ninia, while my bold son got a dashing Arabic one. Neither will I forget the breathtaking nature and wildwoods of the Lopota River gorge, how excited the kids were, or how enthused they got at seeing their father riding so boldly and gorgeously amid valleys and vineyards.
Unforgettable is also Nutsa’s unexpected luck and joy upon catching numerous carps in the specially designated fishing area at Lopota, when all we got was a single trout. I was as happy as a little child, when I suddenly revived my sports drive and got a few seconds ahead, winning against my older son Daniel in the indoor pool, who by the way does water polo on a regular basis. I will never forget how Daniel surprised us on the last day, when he asked us to gather in our comfortable family deluxe room and showed us an incredible slideshow on the large TV screen. Turns out he was secretly taking the photos throughout the holiday, editing them at night, until finally gathering them into a film.
The well-thought infrastructure at Lopota Resort and Spa gave us, both the kids and the grown-ups, an opportunity to enjoy the holidays independently and freely, in a way that we didn’t have to worry about the safety of our children. In the evening when they were entertaining themselves by playing American Pool and other table games, my husband and I would go to a bar or dine in the restaurant. The sunset from Chateau Buera terrace and the fine dining experience as well as the high quality wines were especially pleasurable. Since long, or maybe even for the first time, I had a feeling that my husband and I were as attractive for each other as in the very beginning of our relationship.
If you are facing the same challenges and problems as I do, if your working schedule is as rough as mine, and if you are spending more than half of your life fulfilling the responsibilities and duties… then let me be the person to give you the right advice at the right time and tell you that you should plan your family vacation in advance and choose a place, where every member of the family will have their portion of adventure. Where everyone share the joy of the small victories attained by the others. As this brings the family very close, easing the daily routine at the expense of happiness and joy experienced together.