This past weekend I did something I don’t normally do: I chose fun over work.  I know, I know it sounds crazy, but I often give my kids and the household my full attention during the week, with my health coaching work squeezed in while the kids are either at school or sleeping.  I tend to play catchup on the weekends with my never ending marketing and business tasks.  

But this weekend was different.  For starters, the weather could not have been more perfect. After the ten day heat wave, cooler temperatures were a delightful change. Being that it is the kids’ last week of school, and consists of reduced school hours, evening dance parties, practice and the big Jugendfest parade on Friday, I felt pressured to get some work done over the weekend.  

But then something happened.  I arranged a babysitter on Saturday so my husband and I could check out the last days of a local photo festival going on in our town. As an expat, dates with the man I love are a rarity that only happen 2 or 3 times a year. And there is always this pressure to make the most of them.  But this time instead of an expensive night out on the town, we hopped on our bikes after the festival and rode out to the lake for a quick swim, complete with homemade sandwiches. It was so wonderful, the fresh air, the exercise, the quality time with him. I let go of the should-of’s and have-to’s and instead embraced what I am blessed with right in front of me.  

When Sunday rolled around, my plan was to head to the gym in the morning and spend the bulk of the afternoon at the office, catching up on that never-ending to-do list. But then my son in his sweetest voice asked me to stay for breakfast, which I did. There was talk around the breakfast table of riding to a favorite spot by the river nearby and grilling. Something inside me said loud and clear, “don’t miss this”. The work would have to wait until Monday. And I am so glad I did. 

While my son built a dam with rocks, my daughter and I waded up the river hand in hand across slippery rocks. She delighted in catching an (already dead) fish and then dissected it with her Dad’s Swiss Army knife, completely fascinated with its internal organs and spine. Her father and I, being scientists, could not have been more proud.  

After a nice lunch and hours spent just playing in the water, we cycled back home to catch the end of the Women’s World Cup Final. The fact that we happened to be the only ones cheering quite loudly for the USA team in our local pub, sent my 8-year old into super-embarrassed mode.   

It was one of those spectacular weekends.  And I would have missed it all had I let my “have-to’s” get the better of me. Yes, I am grateful for my flexible business, but that’s not to say it’s easy being an entrepreneur.  So I may have to work a bit later this week or get up a bit earlier. Fine by me, I was so glad I didn’t miss that look on my daughter’s face or disappoint my son who just wanted to have breakfast together.  

So my question to you this summer is – what can you let go of to enjoy precious time with your loved ones?  I often remind myself that I only have 8 or 9 more summers with my little ones – I am going to cherish them as much as I can.  

My best recipe I can share with you this Summer:

Family + friends, add  a bit of sunshine and water  = perfect Summer
Enjoy it. Enjoy the crap out of it.