Hazel reaches for a butterfly at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens.

Archived Story

The search for the right amount of fun

Published 10:19am Tuesday, October 2, 2012

BY ANDY MEYER / FOR THE RECORD

The girls and I went to Disney on Ice last Thursday night. We had an excellent time eating swirled colored ice, cheering on fairies, and getting lost in the wonderful world of Disney.

It was 9 p.m. when I exited the show with Hazel sleeping in one arm and Amelia holding my other hand as she slugged alongside me expressing everything that was upsetting her. She ran for her school’s yearly fundraiser that morning, so she had a sore leg to stand on with her expressions of discontent.

They fell asleep on the way home, I carried them inside, we went to bed, and dawn greeted us in the blink of an eye.

The next day, Amelia had a half-day of school. A neighbor and I decided it’d be a good idea to take the kids to the Huntsville Botanical Gardens. We spent the afternoon holding butterflies, digging in sand, and enjoying the outdoors. All this fun was woven between four hours, five meltdowns, and the draining of my patience.

By 4 p.m. we were at the far end of the park and it was time to go. Wishing I hadn’t stubbornly thought, “my girls are going to walk” when we passed by the wagons earlier, I alternated carrying one of them on my shoulders while the other one expressed her dissatisfaction while walking.

We were tired, we were drained, and even though we shared great experiences, laughed, and loved our time together, we wanted to complain about everything and nothing all at once. We got home, made pizza, watched a movie, and didn’t say much to one another until the next day.

We’re active people and we want our kids to be the same. But, how much is too much? It’s a tough question to answer. There is an obvious difference between being active and running yourself into the ground.

As Dr. Seuss so succinctly put it, “Life is one great big balancing act.” I am still learning that lesson, but taking notes and observing the signs that will hopefully result in a well rounded, active, and well rested family.

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