Living out in the country, it wasn't always convenient for friends to come over, and honestly, I always said to my children that "they have each other, I gave birth to 4 of you to be each other's playmates." Kind of sounds a little harsh and rude coming from a mom, but there is more truth to that than I thought.
Without knowing, I have raised best friends. Do they fight? Um, heck YES!! But in the end, they are always there for each other and typically want to hang with each other over friends any day. I believe building that friendship and showing them how important family is over everything else is what has grounded them and built our family's foundation. We go as a family to each other's events, such as concerts, games, contests, etc. Never has been an option.
Supporting each other and being each other's chearleaders... I hope that is my parenting legacy. Parenting is hard! I feel like a failure some days, well, most days. I tend to use "bad language" in front of my kids... ( but they are not allowed to), I sometimes don't have socks clean for them, the kitchen sink is usually full of dirty dishes, and I really hate to cook. (glad I married someone who is good at it though!!) But the one thing that I feel I got right? The closeness and importance of family. I mean, who else knows how horrible your childhood is and can relate to all the mean things your parents made you do, like chores, cleaning your room before company came, or being made to eat green beans??
Our oldest is getting married soon, and her sister is her maid of honor. Her brothers are also playing a huge part in her wedding. This mama will be crying her eyes out the whole day seeing all the beautiful dresses and tuxes that her babies will be wearing, and how important this day is in the life of all of us. And daddy walking down our firstborn?? (ugly crying just thinking about it) We are gaining an amazing new son in the process, he is exactly what my heart has prayed for my daughter. And I hope our legacy of FAMILY FIRST will be carried on to the next generation.
So my advice? Take those vacations as a family. Make your kids play with each other over always needing to be with friends. Make them sit through each other's games, concerts, etc. Do fun things together, even as they grow up. Stay connected to family not your phone when you are together.
These are the moments that my kids will remember the most. (hopefully not all the dirty dishes)