From Goal to Action: Family Life

My daughter was around 8 years old when we first started including corned beef and cabbage into our St. Patrick’s Day traditions. Even though my dad’s side of the family is heavily Irish American, we just didn’t really celebrate with traditional (or even American-ized) Irish foods as I was growing up. I’ll never forget her response when she saw the full spread on my mom’s dining room table.

“Where’s the corn?”

We love to tell this story every year when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around, and we’re looking forward to our St. Patrick’s Day meal (minus the corn). I love that we incorporated this tradition into our family story all those years ago.

We definitely love our traditions in our family, but as my kids get older, it’s sometimes harder to keep those traditions alive. One of my solutions has been to adapt my old traditions and enjoy new experiences, which may or may not become actual traditions.

In my goal planner for this year, I wrote that I hope to “create fun experiences/connections within our family.” Last year, we had the opportunity to travel to Ireland to meet up with my youngest, who was interning in London at the time. While we weren’t all able to go, travelling together is something that we’ve always enjoyed. It’s something I would love to incorporate more into our family’s future but navigating how to do that with adult children who have their own lives seems a bit daunting at times.

I have moments when I think I do pretty okay at meeting this goal most of the time, and then I’ll have a week where it feels like all we did was watch TV together all week. (We do love enjoying movies together, so that’s not necessarily a bad thing.) But I don’t want to become the in-laws who do nothing but watch TV when everyone comes to visit. I want to be the fun ones.🙂

So how can I accomplish this goal? Through intentional action steps.

With adult children, it’s important to recognize that not everything is going to revolve around our family unit anymore. Over the last few years, I’ve been learning to be okay with that. One way I’ve been retraining my own heart and mind is to be intentional about enjoying my children one on one. My husband and I are both trying to plan coffee, lunch, or dinner dates with each of our kids on a more regular basis. Monthly

We love family game nights, too, but finding the right mix of strategy games vs. role playing games vs. card games has always been tricky. I’ve made it a quarterly goal to learn some new games this year. Quarterly

As I mentioned earlier, I’d love to incorporate more family trip type of experiences with our adult children. Navigating the financial commitment, coordinating the schedules, and choosing things that have a wide variety of options for my very different people has prevented me from fully pursuing this yet. (Maybe a goal for next year?) If you’re a parent of adult children and you’ve successfully figured out how to do family trips, I’d love to learn from you!

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