Last weekend for Father’s Day, our little tribe headed to the mountains to celebrate our daddy with his favorite summer activity: camping. Time slowed WAY down without the endless to-do lists that occupy us at home. In the beautiful silence, cut off from the million forms of communication constantly vying for my attention, my mind cleared, and I could soak in the presence of these few people who matter most.
Summertime gives us a special opportunity to celebrate our families in large and small ways: the classic road trip, the family vacation to visit grandparents or epic destinations like Disney Land, family reunions, and of course, the quintessential summertime celebration of family—the wedding.
This summer is different as many of those gatherings have been postponed or re-planned and many families have had to cancel big trips. They now wonder what it looks like to celebrate family in a meaningful way when the goal is to celebrate the very people who have filled our lives every single day for the past 14 weeks or so.
Here’s a handful of ideas to help you celebrate your family this summer, keeping in mind that challenges can lead to disappointment or can ignite creativity and lead to unexpected discoveries.
1) Picnic Often
Pick a series of new parks and plan several dinner picnics throughout the summer. Our family recently rediscovered Prospect Park and loved the shady cottonwoods combined with the coolness of the creek and great lakes for fishing at sunset. Also, depending on the city, many playgrounds are open, however some are still closed, so you’ll want to do a little research before you go.
2) Have a Fancy Dinner
Consider planning a “fancy” meal where everyone gets dressed up (just because you’re not going to a wedding this summer, doesn’t mean you can’t dress up like you are). Use napkins and practice good manners with older children, and then put on twinkle lights and music for your own back-yard dance party.
3) Have Family Portraits Taken
This season is an especially intense time of being together as a family, courtesy of the pandemic, and even as the restrictions ease, it seems we are destined to be each other’s closest companions through this stressful time. So why not acknowledge it and celebrate it? If you were on a sinking ship and jumped into a life raft, wouldn’t you want these very same people with you? Also, summer is the perfect time for a photo shoot to capture the love that brought you together and keeps you going through challenging times:
children are up late,
the weather is warm,
the sunsets are breathtaking,
the foliage is lush.
Don’t miss this opportunity to appreciate the beauty in this unique experience.
Family Portraits are possible during the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. Please see my plan of action for the Covid-19 Crisis for details.