Growing up in a family of four kids, my parents always went out of their way to make each of us kids feel special. If you asked any of my siblings to name a childhood memory that made them feel special, I am quite sure each one of us would say the individual shopping trips my mother took each of us on before the start of school each year. These trips were one-on-one time with my mother where we would head off to the mall to shop for back to school clothes. It was a whole day set aside for just me and my mom. There were many things I looked forward to during these trips like finding a cool pair earrings to go with an outfit, laughing at clothes that didn’t quite look right and eating at the restaurant of my choice for lunch (most often Friendly’s or McDonalds.) But the real highlight of these trips was creating memories and having my mom all to myself for the day. Having played such an important role in my childhood, I was determined to continue this tradition with my own kids. However, like many things, shopping has changed over the years and I find that I do most of my shopping online throughout the year as the kids need things. I was unsure of how I would continue this tradition when I didn’t really do big shopping days at the mall. One morning as my kids and I snuggled in my bed preparing to get ready for school I decided we were having such a loving and fun time that we would continue it by “playing hookie.” The kids were beyond excited as I explained what “playing hookie” meant. We got a piece of paper and made a list of all of the things we would do that day instead of going to school. They were young so the list included such things as make cookies, play with bubbles and jump in the leaves.
This new “Hookie Day” tradition captures the same feelings that made my childhood shopping trips so special. Each year until my children finish high school they will each be allowed one “Hookie Day." This day has a few rules: 1. You can not have excessive absences already incurred during the school year 2. This day can not take place on a day that has a test or important assignment due. 3. We spend the day together.
All of my kids just had their Hookie Days for 2017 and I was reminded how important these days are for both my children AND for me. I look forward to these days as much as my kids do. With my roles as mom to 4 children, business owner, housekeeper, chef, chauffeur and wife, life is busy. These special days make me slow down and focus on what’s important. Even though my kids are still young (6,5,3,1) I am so aware of how these days will be even more important as my kids head into the adolescent and teen years. There were so many opportunities for uninterrupted conversation (even at these young ages) and I know that as they grow this bonding time will continue to be fun, meaningful and essential.
I can’t wait to see how the activities for the day change over the years and look forward to reminiscing with each of my children about the special memories we created.