Westchester 4th of July Parade

Parents, children and their dogs participate in last year's Fourth of July parade.

Family time.

I’m sure the phrase has taken a whole new meaning over the past couple of months. With stay-at-home orders in place, many families had no choice but to spend time together. The results have been interesting, to say the least. Memes, videos and TikToks documenting the experience of being stuck at home with family have been a source of entertainment across all social media platforms.

But all jokes aside, many will agree that while the circumstances are less than ideal, the opportunity to spend more time together has been a blessing. Because time is a rarity. It is the one thing we all share, yet none of us own. Time is free, yet it’s priceless. We can give it, but we can never take it back.

To make the decision to spend time with someone is to consciously devote a portion of your life with them, which makes it an extremely powerful gift.

Of course there will be tension and disagreements — that’s just what families do — but that just creates stronger bonds and greater levels of understanding. Even as the city slowly reopens, families are continuing to stick together, bucking the notion that members will distance themselves the first opportunity they get.

Families continue to go out for bike rides and walks, hang out at parks, learn new skills together and connect on a deeper level during times when they would normally be separated by work, school and other life obligations.

There is a newfound appreciation for living life at a slower pace, as it allows you to enjoy the sights and sounds around you and embed them into memory.

Years down the road, we will look back on this opportunity to earn a little extra quality time with those we care about most and be thankful that it happened.

Writer Lisa Kimble summed it up perfectly, when she found her empty-nest home full of little birds again, as those who had flown the coop over the years returned: “In our house, 2020 will be remembered for the year nearly all our grown children returned to the nest. When controlled chaos ruled the day. An almost-reunion we’d never planned. When the universe forced us away from our frenetic lives. I’m grateful for it all, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.”

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