Ravings From The Bog


Stress Valve and a Legacy
August 7, 2008, 10:26 pm
Filed under: Family, Life, Work Life Balance | Tags: , , ,

Sundays are our special days. I should elaborate – when G and I were first married, we had my father-in-law, Eric, living with us. Looking back at the birth of our first two children, I now think that it was not a good idea to start married life and parenthood with three people in the marriage (as Princess Di once put it). My point is, that I wasn’t always there for my first two kids and their live-in Papa filled the void. Very many young parents obviously lack the wisdom needed to raise children correctly and between working and laziness, I accepted that the built-in babysitter was a good thing, in fact, at the time, I couldn’t see and didn’t look for, a downside.

In hindsight, I now realise that I didn’t spend enough time with the first two, so when our little surprise came along, I was determined to not make the same mistake again. Given that Eric passed away about a year before Sophie appeared (a coincidence; I think not!), the road ahead was clear.

Every school-night, I read a chapter of one of her books to Sophie. She’s in her jimjams, all tucked in, and we visit Narnia or some other fantastic world. Recent favourites include Enid Blyton books and the Just William stories by Richmal Crompton. On Sundays, we do something different. We go to the cinema to see the latest suitable film. If we’ve seen all of those available, and that happens quite often, we’ll have an expedition. These vary from trips to the beach at Ballyholme, to visits to the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, walks with Dougal in the woods or, like last Sunday, a trip to Carrickfergus Castle.

These events are generally followed by a trip to Mickey D’s – something we should both avoid.

This is the very best investment of my personal time I can possibly make for two reasons. One, the day to day work-related stress just disappears and two, I know she’ll remember these days out whenever I’ve shuffled off this mortal coil.

I remember trips from Belfast to Bangor, the town where I now live, in the late 1960s with my brother and my Dad. I remember my Dad lifting me onto an old horse for a ride along Ballyholme Beach, which cost 6d. I remember climbing onto the ex-German Navy submarine gun in Ward Park for my Dad to take a photograph and various picnics, etc that have stuck with me for almost forty years.

I’d like to leave Sophie a similar legacy.

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