Relaximals were created for a busy family with six busy kids. My family.
Between school, sports, orchestra, chores, play dates and everything else, we never seemed to find time for ourselves. Or each other. Like many families, we were constantly busy doing more and being more, filling every moment with everything the world tells us is important.
Maybe it was all the extra hours I had been working. Perhaps it was suddenly realizing that a couple of our kids were now taller than my wife. Or maybe it was one rare family movie night when we all wished we could just escape and do something crazy, like in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
- Ferris Bueller
Whatever it was, I started to realize that none of us were getting any younger. Before we knew it, our kids would be grown and out of the house. They'd find themselves busy with jobs, bills and raising their own busy kids.
Is that all I wanted to teach them? Responsibility? Maturity? Success? Those can be good things, but what makes it worth while? What about slowing down and relaxing? Just the simple pleasure of enjoying life and the company of others?
I thought back to a less hectic time. One Christmas morning, when I was five or six, my parents had given us all overstuffed corduroy backrest pillows. Mine was an ugly mustard yellow, but it was my favorite possession. I lugged it around everywhere. It was my constant companion for countless hours spent reading, relaxing and pondering life. I imagined it was alive, its arms wrapped around me as I explored the worlds between the covers of books (and in more than a few Saturday morning cartoons).
I wanted my kids to experience what I had experienced. I wanted them to have a silly, comfy companion that invited them to slow down, to read, to snuggle, and to just relax. So Relaximals were born.
At first, I had only the long faded memories of how I had pretended with my own pillow. But when I showed the rough sketches to my children, their imaginations filled in the missing pieces. Bears. Cows. Frogs. Kittens. Owls. Puppies. "I want THAT one!" Soon enough, my wife sewed a rough prototype, and they wrestled for time to cuddle with the furry creation.
Now, each of my kids have their own Relaximal, and time seems to run just a little more slowly. They're a nice reminder that sometimes we all need to slow down, take some time for ourselves and for each other.
Maybe your kids or grandkids are a bit like my own. They're neck deep in the expectations that grown-ups have for them. Do their best and be the best that they can be. But sometimes we all could use just a little time to relax.
From our family to yours... enjoy.