Reflections from my adult daughter
by Kendall Parkhurst
My mom is one of my closest friends. So is my sister, Lindsay, and now, my sister-in-law, Alexandra. A day rarely passes that we don’t check in by texting or talking. Some of my girlfriends tell me they wish they had a sister or mom they could be “friends” with. So I don’t take these friendships for granted.
I attribute much of this bond to my parents’ intentional focus on family fun growing up. I have to admit we did plenty of things that didn’t seem like fun. Like long rides in the back seat of a car to visit my grandparents. When three siblings sat squished together, touching and bugging each other, we were forced to work things out. Now I see how those times imprinted on me the importance of navigating conflict and appreciating togetherness with my siblings so we could have close relationships and enjoy each other both then and now. Even though those experiences didn’t get classified as “fun,” in their own odd way, they made some good memories.
Our family value of fun has influenced many memories since then. Even now as adults, married with nine children among us and living in the same area, we often end up spending impromptu weekend nights together with food, laughter and cousins. And each summer, usually around the 4th of July, we try to plan a long weekend together somewhere in the mountains where we can stay in the same place and have fun!
But last summer, it didn’t seem like it was going to work because of schedules, the expense, plus Alexandra was in the final weeks of her fourth pregnancy! I think my mom kind of gave up on the possibility, so it was us — the kids — who came up with the perfect alternative: a three-day stay-cation at their house!
We got into the planning, and even though we are normally an anti-cheesy family, we went over the top, and loved it. We had a printed itinerary with activities and themes for each day: Family Olympics and obstacle course. Tie-dye stay-cation T-shirts. Camping, spa, s’mores, karaoke, a babysitter (so the adults could go out to dinner one night). Pool day and a hike.
It wasn’t perfect. Too hot one day. Too mosquito-ey one night. Cranky kids sometimes. But we made the most of it. And now we have a new supply of fun memories and stories.
Kendall Parkhurst, our youngest, is married to David and mother of two, ages 3 and 1.