Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Girls day, Boys day

I can't quite recall just how it initially began.

At least eight years ago now, my husband and I began a new family tradition of "Girls Day/Boys Day" on the August holiday long weekend, (when we lived in the west), that of B.C. day in Canada.

The children who still resided at home were divided into two groups; girls and boys (ha ha). My charge included all our girls, and my husband took charge of the boys.

As parents, we each developed our personalized strategies for what our day would include; where would we go, what would we do, how would we execute our final plans and when agenda for the day was complete, where would the entire bunch would regroup again for our evening dinner.

Every year saw huge variations with the simple to more complex, and usually memories were born from the out of the box wackiness included in a few of our outings.

As many businesses were closed for this holiday Monday, sometimes we were able to take part in a local fair, a farmers market, we took to the beach, a picnic to the park, strolled downtown to new spots, went to the zoo, sat by the ocean and watched cruise ships at port, had haircuts together as a bunch, enjoyed manicures from my mother - or whatever else came up as a good idea for that particular year. No two years were alike.

We left very early in the morning and took our time throughout the day to just enjoy being together, on purpose. Bonding sessions were in progress and typical schedules were thrown out the window - on purpose.

One year we bought tickets to attend a Vancouver Whitecaps soccer game (once reunited) in the evening and when one of our gang had a shift to work in the evening, we gave her ticket to an older married son when his wife was out of town to accompany us. Good thing we brought him along, soccer not being our kind of game so he helped familiarize us with game plays, player names, and the works.

What a good time we had!

Fast forward to three weeks ago to when our entire family was together.

I remember with great fondness, the photo below of myself and our girls (youngest was too little), snapped after a memorable evening when we gathered to take our soon to be new daughter out for dinner for a private family-only wedding shower, followed by a lovely evening stroll at the beach. We were bonding afterall, just us - me and my girls.

I thought we needed to update the photo, so I asked all if they'd like to gather again for another night and make a point of updating the photo experience. All agreed.

Our youngest daughter noted her older sister had been her exact age in the former photo and requested to be part of the evening dinner. She did have a point there, for she was my girl like all her sisters.

It was set. We were going to get "outside of the box" yet again and try some Indian food. It sounded pleasant to me, though I have never even tried such food fare at an Indian cuisine type of restaurant before.

And then, I thought of our other girls - our older Grand-Girls and thought to also invite them along to our evening dinner time. Our group is sure growing...

Meanwhile the male testosterone began to brew with my husband at the helm, thinking he too should have an evening with the boys, but when?

Originally my husband and our two younger sons were going to babysit for our daughter in law so she could get out if our son was called to work that evening. At the last minute, as it turned out, he was on a day off. Their services were no longer required for childcare duties.

Like old times, he began to make a few plans at the last minute, not sure of what others had for their own obligations. He decided, those who could make it would enjoy the evening together, no pressure.

Our son and his wife were able to hire a babysitter at the last minute. Alas, a couple of hours beforehand, all seemed prepared on both our parts, so it seemed until the "boys" venue changed at the last minute, even closer to the girls than previously planned.

Nothing was on our agenda, it just happened like in days of old. The evening ended up seeming reminiscent of a "Girls Day and Boys Day".

Traditions still abound in our family when least expected, many carrying with them great fondness and joyful memories to trigger instant smiles. Well, maybe at times not for everyone, but for my husband and I, we thought so.

After the girl's dinner together, we all strolled over on foot to crash the boy's party for a time, snapping a few more photos and squeezing in a few more hugs.

And a lovely dinner was had by all.

Would we return for again for Indian food? Oh yes. Delicious was the general consensus for all present at the table.

The girl's updated photo was a bit of a challenge though, a little blurry due to another photographer trying his best to accommodate our request. Thanks honey.

Oh but wait!

On a whim, some suggested why end the evening there. Two of the gals visited the local grocery store to purchase a rather large bucket of ice cream and the boys joined the girls at the condo we were staying at for dessert and after dinner chats.

Our Girls Day and Boys Day came together at the end of our evening, for a great closure, complete with ice cream for all.

Realistically, who knows when or if this type of activity will ever be able to happen again in the future.

As the family grows, it's becoming more and more difficult to get everyone together with the general busyness of schedules and family lifestyles when we fly into town. Even with lots of notice, there is only so much availability for everyone.

I suppose, such is the way life goes. With the many miles now situated between us, we can only make the attempt and see what happens.