Sunday, 13 November 2011

A Fair To Remember

 I learnt a very valuable lesson recently.  I had promised the boys that we would go to the Festival of Fire, a mid-winter carnival where they make huge fire-sculptures on the beach and light them as the sun goes down.  It culminates in a massive fireworks display, set to music and reflected in the waters of the harbour.  It is spectacular and a great amount of fun. 

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:

If I had my child to raise again

If I had my child to raise over again 
I'd build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I'd finger paint more and point fingers less. 
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch,
and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less and know to care more
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites.
I'd stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields
and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging and less tugging.
I'd see the oak tree in the acorn more often.
I would be firm less often
and affirm much more.
I'd model less about the love of power,
And more about the power of love.

Diane Looman "Full esteem ahead"



  1. Love,love this Blog!!! Love your honesty and your ability to write your experiences that many can identify with.Lovely family!

  2. Thanks so much! This blog really just started as a way to keep track of the lovely, interesting and scary things that happen that I would otherwise forget about (I have a disastrous case of baby brain - mind like a sieve at the moment!). I am so glad if other people can benefit from it too. Please visit again - you are welcome here!

  3. Thank you! Keeping track like this is so valuable! (You could publish this, as it is so well written and meaningful - I think.....)

  4. I will definitely think about that some time - thanks! I actually find that I am more faithful at updating a blog than I would be at writing a diary, for example, because the expectations of people who read the blog regularly actually help me to write down experiences that happen during the day. So as a result, I have managed to get a lot more stuff together than I would have done by myself. Thanks for your input in this blog too!