It goes a little something like this:
1. Your child is born
2. Your baby becomes a toddler
3. Your child goes to school
4. Your child goes to university or work
5. Your child leaves home.
That’s it. Five major stages and wham, they are leaving the nest to make their own way, without you.
And I for one need it all to slow down a bit. I’m not quite, despite the eye rolling and irrational mood swings, ready to accept that these stages with my teenage daughter are almost over.
The thing is, I always thought that I had more time. More time to tick off more points on the ‘you and me’ bucket list. You know, all those things you think you’ll get to do with your kids before they leave you.
So from me to you, as someone who has managed to tick off some of the following but not nearly enough, here are the 22 things you should do with your kids before they find their wings and leave home – forever.
1. Catch a wave. Take your kids to the beach and let them feel how wonderful it feels to feel the force of the ocean behind them
2. Go Camping. Just, you, them, a tent and nature.
3. Play Hide and Go seek in the dark
4. Cook together, most importantly, pass on a family recipe
5. Travel together out of your comfort zone and then travel some more (finances permitting)
6. Go to a big concert together (even if you don’t love their choice)
7. Volunteer with them. Help the less fortunate. Make them understand their good fortune in life
8. See, experience and play in the snow
9. Own a pet
10. Let them go outside and play with absolute abandon in the falling rain.
11. Camp out in the lounge room
12. Build a pillow fort
13. Make popcorn, turn on a John Hughes movie and spend a Saturday night in together
14. Help them learn a musical instrument
15. Put a surprise note in their lunch box (just because)
16. Go fishing
17. See a BIG sporting event together. One that elicits excitement and pride
18. Build a sandcastle with a moat that fills with water as the tide comes in
19. Allow them to fall asleep in front of the TV and carry them up to bed
20. Fall in love with the same book
21. Ride a pushbike to a creek and just sit for a while
22. Last but certainly not least, just spend time together.