Recently, my family had distant relatives visit from Germany. Over the years there have been many visits between us visiting Germany and them visiting the USA. They are a wonderful family and we thoroughly enjoyed the time together. Upon waking up one morning, my 4-year-old had already asked to visit Germany.
During their eight-day stay we talked quite often about the differences between the USA and Germany — lifestyles, parenting, schools, vacations, etc. In the USA, our lifestyle (in general) is fast-paced — we are always on the go — trying to cram as much into a day as possible.
One evening during their stay, they asked me what I missed most about living in Poland (my husband and I lived in Poland before children). That was an easy question for me to answer — the lifestyle.
Sundays in the spring, summer and fall were always my favorite day while living in Poland. My husband and I would go to a small English language church, then home for lunch; afterwards we would pack up a blanket, books and our dog to head to a park.
We would then relax, read and play with our dog in the park, which was wonderful, but what I enjoyed even more was watching the people.
Sundays in Poland are traditionally family days, as a family (including grandparents, parents and children) the families would head to church, then a family dinner (either at home or restaurant) then a leisurely stroll (not a power walk) to the park.
While in the park, they would feed the birds (not my favorite — I’m not a huge pigeon fan) and eat ice cream cones from a local vendor. The children would laugh, hold their grandparents hands and just enjoy each other’s company. I didn’t need to know the language (I don’t speak Polish) to understand the love that was shared by the generations.
One of the last days of the German’s visit here to Ahwatukee Foothills was just relaxing, I decided to take them to the local fire and police departments and ask for quick tours. They had their 3-year-old son along on the trip and he LOVES firefighters and police officers (actually, what little boy doesn’t?).
Both the fire and police departments were so accommodating, taking their time to show my relatives all the equipment, vehicles and more.
After our tour of the police station at Pecos Community Center, we played air hockey and Foosball in the game room, stopped to have a quick snack at a picnic table, then went to the playground.
After our morning out, we returned to our house where the boys (my boys included) played all afternoon outside in the sandbox, shooting NERF guns, playing in the water, and more.
The adults relaxed on the patio with a soft breeze, just hanging out. I would say it was one of my favorite days during their stay — no schedule, no rushing, just relaxing with plenty of laughter.
We are so lucky to live here in Ahwatukee, it is the perfect weather to take a Sunday and spend time relaxing with the family. Dust off your bike and ride to Pecos Park, let the kids play while you relax on a blanket and read a book.
On your bike ride home stop to create the perfect frozen yogurt treat at one of the local places and enjoy this moment in time with your family, you never know how many you have and you will be giving your children the best memories.
Thank you to my German relatives for reminding me about their wonderful lifestyle, I will be relaxing much more on Sundays, spending more time at the picnic tables in the park with my family enjoying the day.
Will you vow to do the same thing? Let’s not waste a moment of time, even if it is just one day together to relax, breathe and laugh.
• Leah Derewicz is a 15-year Ahwatukee Foothills resident. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.