Family Time

Posted on in Todd Talks by Todd Johnson

Each year, my wife and I try our best to take a vacation with our two little girls. It's intended to be a way for us to all spend some time together without the distractions of our everyday routines. No work for Mommy and Daddy means no daycare to them, but to my wife and me, it means no tedious commute to and from work and no emails or phone calls. Ideally, it would also mean that we would be able to relax and not worry about our normal tasks like we would if we were at work. In short: We get to spend time together with minimal distractions.

This year we were blessed enough to take two vacations. The first, way back in February, was to Florida to visit family and attend a wedding. The second was our normal long-weekend vacation to a nearby locale. This year was Point Pleasant, New Jersey. I can still hear our girls' laughter the first time they saw the ocean and walked in the warm, soft sand. I can also hear the cries of the younger when, shortly after a wave knocked her down and she had her swimsuit filled with that sand. This time around, she was much more aware of the mighty power of the surf. It was so cute to see her chase the waves back to the ocean only for her to turn and scream with delight as another wave raced her back up the beach. Her sister and I were watching from the water, laughing. I had to hold my older daughter's hand, because she was nervous about being knocked down, and ultimately, we would both take a seat in the water before the day's end.

The girls showed just as much, if not more, excitement about the hotel swimming pool as they did earlier at the beach and on the boardwalk. In fact, I am convinced that our older daughter would still be in the pool right now if she could.

I often found myself thinking of the family vacations I took with my parents and sister when I was just a kid. We would go to the New Jersey shore every summer. I remember camping and playing with my toys on the beach. I also remember complaining about being hungry at the beach (pistachios still remind me of the beach to this day). We loved playing games and riding the rides on the boardwalk. I still love the sound and smell of a gas lantern. And who could forget the time monkeys ripped the vinyl roof off the car in front of us at Six Flags Great Adventure! I had so much fun with my family. We still talk about those trips. I remember the last one, right before I went off to college. I got the worst sun burn of my life, and then we went to a Phillies game the next day. I have never been so miserable and happy at the same time.

Family time is so important. One of my greatest fears is that our children will grow up and not feel comfortable sharing things with me or my wife. I want them to feel safe and welcome to tell me anything without fear, as I do with my parents. Studies have shown that spending time together is crucial in creating a stronger emotional bond between parents and children. This bond is what allows for better communication, better grades, and fewer problem behaviors now and later in life.

We only have so much time with our loved ones. I intend on leaving an impression and making that time count.