Each Friday like clockwork, we wrangle all the kids together, grab blankets, popcorn, and pillows, and settle into the living room to enjoy a family movie. It’s the rare occasion that we miss this regularly scheduled appointment. For us, Friday evenings are the perfect time for a family movie night given our hectic weekly schedules. With four kids and a plethora of evening commitments on other days of the week, Friday is usually the only night we have to really kick back and relax. It also comes at a perfect time for us. At the end of a long week, the only thing we really want to do is veg out and completely unwind before easing into our schedule for the weekend.
This week though, we extended our family movie night across three nights in order to finish viewing a movie that we spontaneously decided to watch (Disney’s Enchanted…somehow those catchy lyrics get stuck in our heads). Each night I found myself rushing home and excited to get to the 20-30 mins that we set aside to watch a portion of the movie, and I could tell it was a special treat for the girls as well. Although we do try to have family dinner at least 3 nights a week, usually our evenings are pretty packed with homework, meetings, dinner, bath and bedtime, and before you know it, it’s time to do it all over again. So it was nice to slow the process of the daily grind down this week.
Turns out, when you have family movie night for three straight evenings, you’re up for something more adventurous on Friday night. That’s why last night we broke tradition and went bowling with another family. Like us, they have a large tribe (5 kids, all boys, similar ages as our 4 girls). We had a great time, both kids and adults (punctuated by my first ever highest score). What was great about last night’s bowling was that we got to make some memories together. Yet, on the car ride home we could definitely feel the difference in this Friday night versus others. We were bone tired (the adults, not the kids…for some reason they seemed more lively than usual). It was 10pm and later than we usually hang on a Friday evening. We knew we would pay for that in the morning (which we did) because somehow despite going to bed later, our young kids still wake up at the absurd hour of 7am (even on the weekends).
We’re creatures of habit after all. We know our family’s rhythms. We go hard in the paint all week long, and the weekends are kind of like our sacred time. Fridays are our start to a time of rejuvenation, and for us, that begins with slowing down the pace and simply being present with one another. Also like clockwork, we know how movie night will go each week. There will be some initial lack of consensus about which movie to choose (we should just rotate and take turns). But finally we’ll agree on the least disagreeable option on the table and settle in to watching. Before you know it, we’re caught up, unwinding, and the cares of the week have melted away. I’m a homebody by nature so this already appeals to my sensibilities. What I hope is that as the girls get older and we all start competing with additional commitments, that this tradition still stands. Who knows, perhaps maybe even family movie night will remain their favorite night of the week.