Today was a little different from most days: the alarm didn’t go off, the kids didn’t come flying into the bedroom, asking for cartoons on a weekday (only to be “awwwwwed” out of the room), and no one even seemed to move until well past 8 AM. To think how quickly times change—that used to be an early morning somewhere, way back in my twenties. Now anything past it is officially a “lie in day”. The sun must agree: it’s been grey and dark all day, keeping everyone in that sleep-in state of mind. Even after a mellow jaunt to the Aviation Museum, it’s relatively quiet in the house with half of our family down for a nap.

This muted afternoon just gets me to thinking to how seldom in this valley we really take the “time out” from our horrifyingly over-scheduled calendars to just be with our kids. This is the first day in months we’ve not had a birthday planned, a list to fetch from a cluster of shops, and a playdate or a sports event on schedule. And HELLYES—what a relief it is, to simply enjoy meandering through the day with your kids and the only agenda is: what do we all feel like doing together right now?

In this space where there is so much going on and so many opportunities “to do” amazing things, to enrich your child’s development, or offer them better opportunities; isn’t it amazing that sometimes we forget that the most cherished part of being with your kids is simply that? Just being there. It’s nearly 90 percent of the job at times. And it is so important to them. How many “Mommy, watch this!” have I responded to distractedly, “Yes, dear, I’m watching,” (and I’m folding laundry, cooking dinner, or glued to an email). Sad, really, how easily distractable we can get in this zone of productivity.

Today was an excellent reminder for me and my kids—sometimes it’s enough enrichment to hang out with the family, with no agenda, no timetable—to simply enjoy the quiet and ease of the people you’re with.