Starting a new tradition

Have you noticed how almost every day belongs to something-or-other? There is International Talk like a Pirate Day, International Peanut Day, International Positive Thinking Day, Fortune Cookie Day, Play Doh Day (the finest smelling of all international days), Make a Hat Day, Felt Hat Day, Green Peace Day, Dot Day, Hug a Greeting Car Writer Day, and these are just some of the bizarre days which are taking place over the next 10 days! Whilst these are all pretty daft, it can be quite difficult to appreciate those days which really are meaningful. When I was growing up, the two days I would get the most excited were Christmas day  my Birthday, which due to particularly poor planning on my parent’s part, occur within a week of each other. OK, I admit it. I was totally mercenary, and like most kids, loved receiving gifts. As my Birthday is on New Year’s Day, during my late teens and early twenties I got used to not celebrating it as most of my friends (and often I) had imbibed just a little too much the night before. Christmas has always been my favourite day of the year, and even the grumpy old man version of me, gets excited about it. Certainly, the Christmas displays seem to go up earlier and earlier each year, but having an excuse for many friends and family to get together for some really good fun is just brilliant.

As the years go by, I wonder whether my children are going to be similarly excited about Christmas though. Whilst there is a dearth of silly days, there does seem to be an increasing number of annual days which we are being encouraged to celebrate. I’m sure that Valentine’s Day has become a much bigger event over the last 15 years (coincidentally the same amount of time that Mrs L. and I have been together) and Halloween seems to be a huge deal, certainly compared to when I was a kid.

Last weekend, in New Zealand we celebrated Father’s Day and whilst it is lovely to receive gifts and little messages from my children and wife, for me, I can’t help but feel that it is all a bit unnecessary. I am delighted that Fraboo made me a card, and wrote the message with no outside help (I love you Dabby), Boy-Boy did a painting at kindergarten, and Jojo provided me with a particularly colourful nappy, but I am glad that they didn’t spend any actual money on me. Perhaps I am a bit of a traditionalist or a cheapskate, but cynically, I see these events as a commercial opportunity. I’m not saying that parent’s shouldn’t be recognised or honoured in some way, but having a financial burden placed on your children and/or partner, to my mind just isn’t necessary.

You see, my contribution to my family is primarily as a provider.  We have made not inconsiderable sacrifices so that my Mrs L. doesn’t have to go out to work. The world is changing and I know that there are many Dad’s who are stay at home parents. Those men should certainly have their efforts recognised, in the same way that, I believe, Mrs L.’s effort are far more worthy of recognition than mine. I wonder if there should not just be one “Primary Care Giver’s Day”. I understand, that the other parent’s contribution is equally valuable often in a vastly different way, but when it comes to raising our children, by far and away, Mrs L. does the majority of the parenting. (Please don’t misunderstand me. I think I do a pretty good job as a Dad, but Mrs L. spends more time with the kids, therefore she does more parenting. It’s really pretty simple.)

With this in mind, I decided that I wanted to mark this Father’s day differently. I bought four postcards, each with a picture which would be significant to the members of my family for which they were intended, and wrote a small note to Mrs L. and each of the kids. In these letters I described what it is that makes me proud of them and what makes them so special to me. I also wrote some of the key events which have happened to them over the past 12 months. I hope that this will become a “Team Fun” tradition and that in years to come the kids (and Mrs L.) can look at these little messages and be able to remember their childhoods a little more clearly, a sort of montage of the time we’ve spent together. I wanted each of them to know how precious they are to me, and how much I value them.

After all, the three things which enable me to enjoy Father’s day, are my children. I genuinely believe that my family help to make me a better version of myself, and therefore to my mind, it should be me who is honouring them. So thank you all, Mrs. L, Fraboo, Boy-Boy and Jojo. You are all awesome!

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