Archives for posts with tag: Parents

In an effort to try keep this Christmas a less stressful holiday, my wife and I decided to keep things simple this year. We planned and bought gifts early, and wanted to prioritise a family day out the weekend before Christmas. We wanted a day where nothing but having fun with our kids would be the task of the day – no last minute shopping! It sounds simple, but I’m usually unorganised at Christmas time, and therefore stress and tension creep in easily. Thankfully, our plan went well and we had a wonderful, family day. We also got to spend time with other members of our families – the in-laws, cousins and their family. It was wonderful.

The magic of Christmas was felt today. We had pizza at a very child friendly restaurant (Milano) that was decorated in festive splendour. We walked through streets lit with magical light displays. We got to visit a fairy-themed park and watch the kids ride a carousel, and eat chocolate filled crepes afterwards. It is definitely one of the days I hope to remember for ever. I’m also hoping our children will remember it as fondly. And it got me thinking about the happy memories I have of Christmas time with my parents when I was a child. There are many enjoyable moments, thankfully. One of the most memorable involved a lot of thought and action from my parents in order for me and my siblings to be surprised. I’m not sure how old I was at the time, probably about ten years of age.

The story involved the whole family at the time – my parents with their four children – heading to a Christmas Fair about two miles from our home. We arrived late in the afternoon so the visiting Santa was already gone. Four disappointed children were told that Santa left a message that he’d catch up with them soon. For the rest of that day we strolled around the various knickknack stalls and bought tickets to the raffle. We left with a few simple prizes and strolled home in the dark winter evening.

The next morning, we went to school as usual and then walked home that afternoon. A typical Monday for the average school going child. However, when we arrived at the back door of our house it was locked. Nothing strange, it usually meant my mother was probably gone to the shop, or a neighbour, so we just had to stroll around the block to the front of the house. In those ‘good auld’ days, a key was always in the front door. The four of us walked along the road to the front of the house. When we pushed open the front gate of the house we saw four wrapped presents on the doorstep. We ran and grabbed the gift that was left for us. A single letter was also on the doorstep, addressed to us all – a letter from Santa apologising for missing us at the Fair the previous day. He explained he had the presents wrapped and knew we were expecting something, so he dropped them off that afternoon. We stood amazed, we just looked at each other in awe – the idea of Santa calling to our house while we were in school, to drop off presents to us. It was truly an early Christmas present. It was magical!

Coincidentally, our parents arrived home ‘from the city’ within seconds of us finding the gifts. They were as thrilled as their four children at the sight of the presents and the letter from Santa. They celebrated this most extraordinary event with us. It is a lovely memory, and I still feel some of the excitement today when I think of it. The magic of Christmas is said to be in the time we spend with our family. Today was one of those days for me. I hope this Christmas brings such joy to others.

Merry Christmas.


Picture Credit

This week has thankfully proved to many of us that there is actually a season that brings sunshine and warmth to our fair land. I feel I deceive my children when I promise to do certain things outside “when the summer comes” or “when it’s a bit warmer”! Thankfully, this week, some of these promises were kept with our ability to picnic in the garden, splash about in the [birth] pool, and ‘galocher‘ ice cream several times throughout the day; and hats and coats were left in the boot of the car! It’s been a wonderful week and the kids seem happy to be around their parents; and the parents are happy to be around the kids! And it ain’t over yet…

So, feeling all positive about my stay-at-home-dad status, I was happy to discover that today – June 1st 2013, is now a worldwide celebration day of parents. So, Happy International Parents’ Day to all readers who are parents, or have parents!

So, before you start the cynical criticisms about this being another exploitative celebration from card-makers around the world – you’re wrong – this is actually a UN resolution (66/292 to be more precise) to recognise the role of parenting! Yes, the United Nations reckons we need to universally look at the positive role parents play in society. After all, would there be much of a society if there were no parents? Actually, who would provide a new generation of leaders to sit around the UN table, if parents were not here?

So, looking at it this way; us parents are very important people and therefore we should be celebrated. I know some of you are asking, do we really need a celebration day for parents? Sure we already have a Mothers’ Day and a Fathers’ Day? Why is this new parents’ day slotted in between these existing parental dates? Has the UN just placed parenting between the celebrated mothers and fathers of this planet?

This inaugural celebration day of parents is hopefully to show how “families built on the recognition of equality between women and men will contribute to more stable and productive societies.” Well, chronologically at least, the United Nations have certainly placed the day between women and men. As to how the ‘more stable and productive society’ will pan out after celebrating International Parents’ Day is probably based on the notion that men, if they clean the house more, will reap the benefits of a more amorous partner. 😉 Not sure how true that is!? [Any comments on that Irish Parenting Bloggers?] And, I have to question how productive can a parent be while being a parent – I constantly feel everything I do is only half done.

But the UN don’t seem to have the half done scenario at all. Along with the three celebration days mentioned above, there’s even an International Day of Families observed on the 15th May every year. Did you know that? It was celebrated only a few weeks ago. I can’t remember it, but it supposedly ‘provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families.’ Again, I think they’re trying to point out how parents rarely get out, money seems to evaporate and the sense of crowded isolation hits several times a week. Fair play to them for this recognition.

So, looking at the work of the UN in recognising Mothers, Fathers, Families, and now Parents; you’re wondering if they have left anyone out? Well the answer is No, because on November 20th each year we can celebrate worldwide fraternity and understanding between children, and their welfare, with Universal Children’s Day. And then there’s the people who are neither parents or children, and who might feel aggrieved by only getting an single day of recognition with International Day of Families, so the UN provides International Women’s Day on the 8th March, and then there’s International Men’s Day on 19th November each year

So all in all, there are a few days throughout the year that are universally recognising our great contribution to society, no matter how old you are in the family! So, if you are a young child reading this today, remember to treat your parent well this Bank Holiday weekend. No whining, fighting, screaming or shouting at us. Like our summer, it may only come once a year, but its still real.

Peter McKee ‘The Meaning of Life’ available here