Having been gutted at missing Isaac’s investiture into Beavers last week, Bank Holiday Monday was a timely reminder that the joy of parenting is as much about enjoying the small days as it is the big ones.
After busy weeks at school and pre-school, followed by an exciting couple of days with energetic activities and grandparents visiting, yesterday was greeted with a universal sense of ‘meh’ in our household, with three knackered kids unable to summon up much energy. While Isaac went out to the cinema with Mummy in the morning, Toby immediately declared it a pyjama day. That pretty much set the tone on a day when the weather wasn’t particularly conducive to outdoor stuff.
Lunchtime was ordinary: freshly baked bread, accompanied by a variety of cheeses and cold meats. That’s typical for us, and it’s nice to get all five of us round the table at the same time, something that only ever happens on weekends. The conversation is long and loud!
After a couple of hours of pottering around the house doing, it must be said, not much, Mummy came up with the idea of firing up our old TV and Playstation 2 and digging out those dance mat games that were all the craze about ten years ago. All three kids took to it with gusto and giggles. Isaac being Isaac wanted to understand exactly how the game worked. Toby was happy improvising a crazed version of Riverdance completely unrelated to the actual music. (I’m pretty sure he hadn’t just taken a cocktail of Ecstasy, espresso and Red Bull, but it was hard to tell.) And Kara simply ran around the boys cackling delightedly out of the simple joy of being able to join in.
It was fun watching from the sidelines. Give our children something new to investigate, and they always seem to find a way to have fun together as a threesome. I hope they always stay that close.
After their tea, the boys and I cuddled up under our blankets on the sofa to watch an old episode of Top Gear. It’s one of those father/son bonding things in our household. Both Isaac and Toby are car-crazy. One of their favourite games is to play ‘Guess the Car’. It’s not enough to say whether it’s a Honda or a Volkswagen. Oh no, it has to be correctly identified as a Honda Insight or a Volkswagen Touareg. Obviously.
It’s not a big thing. but it’s our thing. We’d seen this particular episode often enough to know all the jokes and stunts before they happened, and laugh through the whole thing. As someone who grew up in a quiet and serious household, I like the sound of laughter. It’s little things like that which I look back on at the end of a day and think, “Well, that was fun.”
And that’s the thing, isn’t it? Of course, we all want the big days to be perfect. But how many of those are there in a given year – 10? 15? They are far outnumbered by the ordinary days, the ones where nothing special happens other than the minutiae of day-to-day family life. But they still matter. Maybe they matter even more?