I live in a bedroom community. What does that mean? It essentially means that everyone commutes to work for an average of 1.5 to 2 hours to work, works all day and returns with another 1.5 to 2 hours drive home. We have neighbors, friends, members of our church community and such that have children the same age, but the amount of time we spend getting from one place to the next leaves little time for our families rendering us rolling solo most of the time. My wife gets together with other stay at home mom’s for playdates and such, but for the most part, she is the activities committee chairman for our children, which is cause for creativity.
We are a lucky family. We live in the Washington D.C. metro area. If you don’t know already, the District is home to some of the largest museum collections in one place and wanna know the best part? They’re all free. Well, free for now. There have been rumors rolling around that the Smithsonian museums will be charging soon. They a government buildings, and as you probably already know, times are tight. That’s neither here nor there. Sure, we engage barbecues, family get togethers with cousins, aunts and uncles, and even the occasional ‘church’ activities that are seemingly uneventful events with people I like moderately (not my fav). These various bits of activities are mostly obligations and don’t nearly have the appeal of a true family outing into our Nation’s Capital. Every year, we have one outing that has become a fantastic tradition.
The zoo. The National Zoo to be exact. It’s a pretty decent place, to be honest. Rubbing shoulders with world famous pandas and seeing all the amazing animals you really only see on TV. Sage has loved this outing since she was tiny, and still loves it today. It’s an opportunity, as a family, to make the trip to DC, walk until our legs are falling off, eat junk like kettle corn, cotton candy and soda, buy yet another stuffed animal that will fit into my daughter’s bed that she’s never play with again and see the excitement in the eyes of my children. It’s free and pretty fantastic. Aw, hell, just watch my family video from a mere two years ago. I even added music to evoke feelings of awesomeness and love. I miss my daughter being that small.
It’s shameless, I know. I recognize too that I have really only captured the exciting moments, not the moments where my daughter is breaking down, or falling asleep from being too tired. It’s all part of the gam though, isn’t it? I digress. In these economic times, is it possible to go out with your family to an otherwise epic outing and adventure without breaking the bank? I know family vacations when I was a kid consisted of camping trips, not trips to Europe or Disney World. I know in the area in which I live, it’s possible. What is meaningful for our families? I can tell you the number one meaningful thing to my family is spending time together getting excited about stuff. Just stuff. Doesn’t matter what stuff, as long as it’s fun stuff. Get ‘em while their young. Get them before they realize that stuff is actually kind of lame. Go do something…I mean if you’re not already.