However, this year, there was a last-minute conflict of interest. We were invited by the High Commissioner to attend a banquet to do with the launch of the World Cup, and although I had misgivings about breaking a promise to the boys, I must admit that my head was turned by the prestige of the event. It had a lot to do with the eventual decision that I made - that we would attend the event, but go with the boys to the Festival quickly first.
The well-laid out scheme pretty-much disintegrated when the Festival was running late. They did not light the fire sculptures on time, and everything was pushed back from there. We had to run home late, having waited for fireworks and sculptures that had not been lit, dragging two very disappointed and crying little boys behind us. Late for the banquet, when we arrived we found out that they had under-estimated the amount of people who were invited and had therefore not catered for everyone. Because we were so tardy, we were left standing at the back of the banquet-hall as they handed out starters to those fortunate to be sitting at the tables. After a warm beer, we had to leave because the baby-sitter phoned us to say the kids had not settled and needed us home. Disaster all around!
As we were driving home that evening, the Sweetpea and I had a "discussion", during which I berated myself for not keeping my promises to my kiddies above all. Although he assured me that I was not to blame, I nevertheless felt that if it had not been for my stupid pride, we all as a family would have had a great time out and I would not have been untrue to the people that matter the most in life. I have always told my children "I keep my promises", and here I had forgotten that most basic of principles.
There was an up-side to this though - since that time, I have endeavoured to keep my promises, no matter how small, so that we don't have a repeat of that fiasco. So far so good! I realised that my family and children should come first above all - above my need to keep the house presentable for guests, above my need to have the "perfect family" and so on. I found a poem that really hit home: