This is annual Cousin’s Camp week for the Pearson family. Read all about it’s purpose and evolution over at my mom’s blog here.
In short – my parents get my kids and I get my wife for an entire week.
I. LOVE. IT.
Why? Not ONE person doesn’t benefit from this. Not one. Everybody gets an incredible amount of value added to their lives as a result of this week’s ‘gift’ from my parents.
Let me share 10 ways ‘Cousins Camp’ adds Value to us:
My kids get to have crazy fun with their cousins and my parents for 6 days. My parents win. My kids win. Katie’s happy. If momma’s happy. . .
My family currently lives 8-9 hours away from any immediate family. The kiddos don’t get to see their grandparents or cousins a lot. A concentrated week with no parental interference ensures connection that will last all their lives.
During the summer, Katie and me are about the only voices our kids hear. Being that I’m their preacher – they can’t even go to church without having to listen to daddy! It is important to us that they hear other voices emphasizing the same values in different ways.
My parents have an incredible marriage. Having my kids spend a week to watch and observe a couple who still loves each other after 40+ years? Yeah, I’ll take it.
Anyone who knows my parents will verify that the TV won’t be on and electronics won’t be allowed. Why? Because every minute has been budgeted and planned to maximize every minute with their grandkids. They will get outside and stay outside to swim, fish, ride in a boat, go to a park or zoo, etc. In other words, their week won’t be influenced by Disney, but Creation.
All the parents of these kids get a much needed break. Especially the momma’s. This week gives all of us – again, especially our wives – a week to catch our breath without the constant demands.
As soon as Katie and me dropped the kids off in West Memphis we noticed the silence. Our car was . . . quiet. Our home was . . . quiet. We are able – without any distractions for a whole week – to be quiet and have our minds, hearts, souls, and body recharged.
Yesterday and today Katie is focused on ONE thing – deep cleaning and reestablishing the house. Why? Because she can. All by herself. And you know what else? She can throw away the ‘trash’ without hearing whiny voices telling her not to. She can get her ‘nest’ – if you will – back into shape so she can efficiently function the way she wants to.
It’s only been 2 days and Katie and me have been able to have deep, meaningful, and fun conversations. We took a bike ride last night at 9:30 PM. We played golf Sunday afternoon. We grilled steak and salmon, ate on our back deck, and didn’t hear a single complaint. Our dog didn’t even bark. Tomorrow afternoon I am taking her to Memphis for a couple of days. Why? We don’t have our kids and we get to go on one big huge date!
Having the kids away with my parents and having my wife to myself has reminded me of a very important truth: “The greatest thing I can give my children is a healthy marriage.” I think Andy Stanley said that. It is oh so true. It is real easy to put the kids first and let them prioritize everything else. I need a healthy marriage before any of that . . . and so do they.
Can I challenge you to something?
1. If you’re a grandparent – and are able – would you consider how you might intentionally add value to your kids and grandkids in similar ways?
2. If you’re a parent – especially of young children – would you intentionally plan a time (day or two, or even a week) when you and your spouse can get away without the kids?
3. Pray that my parents do this for a whole month next year? 🙂