Why spontaneous decisions are important in parenting

Some of my favorite traditions started off as a spontaneous decision. One of which began last summer when my daughter and I decided to go see Andy Grammer perform as a part of the free L.L. Bean concert series. We’d known he was coming but had forgotten until the day of show.

A part of me hesitated because the concert didn’t begin until after Lexi’s “bedtime” and I knew we wouldn’t get back home until at least midnight. Mostly I’m known as a fairly laid back Mom … except when it comes to bedtime. Maybe because I value sleep myself or maybe as a parent I look forward to the quiet moments each night to regroup and recharge. Regardless, intuition trumped routine last year and for that, I’m thankful.

Because we had so much fun, we talked about going back this summer. We’d picked out the country artist, Frankie Ballard, a couple of months ago but once again, didn’t remember he was performing until the day of the concert this past weekend. So we hopped in the Southbound lane for an afternoon of spontaneity.

A thunderous downpour and cracks of lightning welcomed us to Freeport. We perused some outlets (got caught in a blackout at one store), laughed over dinner and enjoyed some great live music. Lexi danced through the entire show despite only knowing a couple of songs. The backseat was quiet on the drive home … Just like last year. As the midnight hour embraced our return, I couldn’t help but think: the beauty of tradition comes not from the repetition of the activity itself, but from combining the predictable with the unpredictable. It’s those unknown moments that help make the memories that keep us coming back for more.

Had I thought about the weather before we got into the car Saturday, I may have reconsidered the trip. Or at the very least I would’ve created “what-if” scenarios on the drive there, rather than enjoying my road trip playlist, hot coffee and  bubbly companion in the rearview mirror. But instead, I decided to take each moment as it came remembering: variables are not obstacles, but opportunities to live a little differently than we did yesterday.



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Erinne Magee

About Erinne Magee

Erinne is a Maine-based writer and freelance editor specializing in first person essays, poetry and picture books. Her work has appeared in publications like: The Washington Post, Redbook, Yahoo News, The Huffington Post, Good Housekeeping and The Toronto Sun. For more, visit: www.erinnemagee.com