My children love secrets. They enjoy knowing something I do not and then playing the cat/mouse reveal game with me. The truth is, adults enjoy having secrets too, especially when it comes to areas they excel.
I have noticed that when someone has a unique talent or skill, they often will attribute it to a specific method or approach they have mastered. It's their secret in a way. I think my favorite part of life is learning what others do well and then deploying those tips into my own life, assuming they are willing to share.
A few months ago I was talking with a couple who have been married for several years and seem to have things put together, including wonderful children who are transitioning well to adulthood. When talking with them one day, the wife was sharing how happy she was in her current stage of life, and while things are changing with time, she explained that she had a real peace about this next step of their life with fewer kids in the house. I was very impressed with what she was saying, and I began wondering how she was so peaceful about everything.
This was my chance. I had to ask.
So I asked, "What's the secret to being content while your family is going through this transition with kids leaving?"
She smiled immediately, and I'll never forget her response to me. She said, "I am so happy because I know that we maximized our time together as a family. Our family spent so much time together while the kids were growing up, we were just always together."
She went on to explain that her family made it a point to do things collectively together. Her response was so candid and sincere. I absolutely loved it!
She wrapped it up by saying, "I would have regrets if we had not spent enough time together, or if we had constantly fragmented our free time with separate social events, with each parent paired with a child doing different activities all the time."
I will never forget her final word. She just looked at me and said, "Togetherness."
I loved her answer so much. I am now even quicker on the draw with asking about secrets. Ha! Also, I no longer feel as guilty about preferring and prioritizing my family time over any other social interaction. I've always enjoyed time with just my family, but I am even more conscientious about it now. I value our friendships and believe they are also important, but I'm proud to say, I am most happy just being with my wife and kids on the weekends, with no busy agenda most of the time. In fact, I think if you are truly happy with your situation in life, that's all you really need. I can honestly say, when I'm not working, I do not need or desire any other social interaction in my life than from my family.
I'm writing this blog now because today reminded me of how much I love being together with my family. On one of the most beautiful fall days I can remember, we ate breakfast together, we played outside together, we ate lunch together, we went on a three-mile trail walk together, we played board games together, we ate dinner together, and we did the nighttime routine together. And you know what? It was a fantastic day.
My favorite part of today was our three-mile trail walk where we talked, laughed, explored, and admired the beauty of the woods together. There were several minutes of just pure silence with the only sound coming from the rustling of leaves as we walked. I thank God for my family and for a wife and children who value "togetherness" just as much as I do.