This post originally ran almost exactly three years ago. I’m re-running it today because these words have been on my mind all week: the circumstances are the same as the first time I wrote it. We just got back from vacation, and even though our food sensitivities are no longer acute, they still stink.
Two months ago, I told you that this summer I was changing my default setting to “yes.” I wanted to give you an update on how it’s been going.
It’s been wonderful.
What I’ve said Yes to this summer
We’ve had so much fun as a family this summer. We’ve spent gobs of hot summer days cooling off at the pool. We’ve stayed up too late so we could all walk the dog after the temperature finally dipped. We’ve hosted a barbecue; we’ve launched our first family fireworks.
And my husband and I have been quicker to say yes, too. We’ve made travel plans we would have passed on some years. We’ve been to weddings and get-togethers; we’ve headed out for dates instead of staying in. We’ve said Yes.
Making it easy to say Yes
You know what else we’ve done? We’ve read and read and read. I’ve ripped through my summer reading list and my kids have listened to Little House and Ramona over and over again. My toddler’s watched Thomas the Tank Engine more days than not. My kids have filled their summer sketchbooks, and I’ve spent countless hours happily plunking away on my laptop.
I’m an introvert; so are two (maybe 3?) of my kids. I’m convinced we’ve all been able to say Yes so much this summer because we’ve built downtime into our days. We’ve created a home environment that allows for resting and refueling, as well as making memories.
My week of saying No
I didn’t realize just how well we’d done with the structure of our days until we went on vacation last week. Suddenly, I found myself saying “no.” All week long.
My girls have food allergies. At home, this isn’t a big deal. I’ve stocked our pantry with things they can eat; we don’t focus much on what they can’t have. I’ve created an environment that makes it easy to say Yes. But last week meals were challenging, to say the least. We ate out daily, and we shared meals with others who aren’t accustomed to dealing with food allergies. My default setting for mealtimes and snacks quickly turned to “no.” (And if you’ve been around young kids, you know that “mealtime” and “all the time” are synonyms.)
I said lots of No because the foods would make them sick. It was the right call: I knew it and my girls knew it, but it didn’t matter. I hated saying so many Nos.
Getting to Yes
After last week’s vacation, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to structure our environment–home and away–in ways that allow me to say Yes.
And this summer I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to say Yes. It takes the right environment. And it’s up to me to create it.
How do you create an environment of Yes?