.Recently, my family traveled to the Ritz Carlton Resort at Reynolds, Lake Oconee for a short get away. My older two children were on spring break, and we were all desperately in need of an escape from the daily grind. And what a fabulous time we had - an opportunity for our family to relax and reconnect. We had no schedule, gorgeous weather, and incredible views of Lake Oconee. Every morning we awakened to a gentle breeze, sunlight dancing across the surface of the lake, and melodious chirping of little birds. Our days and evenings were filled with impromptu dance parties, hugs and kisses, peals of laughter, and smores by the campfire. Our time away also gave me time to pause and reflect, and I wanted to share with you a few things that I learned.
1) Find beauty in the mundane
Singing birds, sunny days despite almost daily threats of rain, verdant trees and fragrant blooms, hammocks swaying in the breeze, absence of alarm clocks, fluffy pillows and soft mattresses, uninterrupted time with my husband and rambunctious children- we had so much for which to be thankful. I chose to focus on the beauty and splendor of Lake Oconee and our time spent together instead of anything else.
2) Live like children
We have 3 amazing children, 2 girls ages 2 and 9 and a 6 year-old boy. And they go hard - all day and well into the evening. Their zest for life is contagious. They embrace every moment with sheer enthusiasm, eager to explore their world and make new friends. They are not hindered by hurts and hangups and simply want to experience life to the fullest.
3) Share the gift of kindness
We were blessed to meet truly wonderful people during our mini vacation. We met a lovely couple from Wales who was traveling to the United State to celebrate the husband's birthday and a delightful family from Mountain Brook who was also on spring break. Our families were inexplicably drawn to each other, and we became fast friends for the duration of our trip. We learned a little about "holiday" and Welsh names and played new board games. I was also struck by the kindness and generosity of the staff. Our every need was addressed with the utmost attention and kindness - frankly I was overwhelmed by such a warm reception.
4) Plan regular escapes from busyness
Work, school, meetings, dance, sports, church - we are a busy family of 5. It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day; and, if you are not careful, you end up running to and fro but disconnected. Family time is invaluable but often must be crafted and scheduled. Make time for each other. Create experiences and memories to savor for years to come.
5) Fill your love bucket
We decided to bring our nanny along with us on our spring break. She has been with us for the past 2 years and is a part of our family. My husband and I wanted to ensure that we had some time to spend together sans kids. Watching her interact with our children filled my love bucket. My children are vocal, energetic, opinionated, and affectionate, and they love their nanny immensely. She is a lot of what they are not but is everything they need - laid back, flexible, soft-spoken, giving, and incredibly patient. And she absolutely adores them. We usually don't get to see them all together as she is typically there when we can't be. Watching them interact over the break truly touched my heart. They lovingly called her their older sister, and she obliged. As Common so beautifully raps in his song "Love Star," love is never out of style.