This year I spent Christmas with GrumpyDaddy's family. We enjoyed a relatively quiet traditional English Christmas, the first since the passing of the family patriarch. It was now GrumpyDaddy, sitting at the head of the table lighting the Christmas pudding (with a little more brandy I think....)
GrumpyDaddy's brother, UncleJ also came to Sydney to celebrate Christmas. He lives on the other side of the country, in WA. I had only met him briefly before at family gatherings. I never guessed that he would give me such a special Christmas present!
UncleJ, spent his Christmas holiday playing with his nieces and nephew... My children. He was available, cheerful and willing to draw endless pictures for the girls to colour in. He took the kids into the city and to the Harbour for the start of the Sydney to Hobart race. On Christmas day he patiently helped them complete all the craft activities they had received and launched Buster’s sling-shot approximately 3200 times. UncleJ also played Christmas carols on the piano and never seemed to tire of the girls (and me!) singing in ‘harmony’!
He slept in the room with the Christmas tree and didn't complain when he was woken extraordinarily early on Christmas morning by an excited and loud bunch of children...a feat made even more impressive as his body clock was actually 4 hours behind ours making it 1am WA time.
UncleJ has certainly won the hearts of my children. After he returned home, busters first waking words were “....UncleJ back yet please???....” They got so much out of having the attention of another adult. I think that UncleJ got quite a lot out of giving so much of his self to the children as well. He really seemed to be enjoying himself!
I am now spending the new-year period with my family…my children are having a fantastic time playing with their cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles….I am really understanding that it takes a village to raise a child.
Today is the last day of 2011. Now is the time for a little introspection, reflection and the setting of new goals and resolutions. After being inspired by UncleJ one of my goals for 2012 is to spend more time with children. Not just my own children but my nephews and nieces. I’m going to make more of an effort to interact with the kids at the school and in sporting groups.
I think that doing this will have a great benefit to the kids I know, and for myself. Everyone remembers that special teacher, coach or family member that listened to them, motivated and inspired them. Playing with children can create such a strong bond. But don't just consider your own children. You can also touch the lives of other children in your extended family. Volunteering to help at sports and youth clubs can be another way of really benefiting children and playing a part in their lives.
So, in answer to the question posted in the title… the way to a mother’s heart is…
…… through her children.
However, one way to a childs heart is playing with them and spending real quality time talking to them and being with them.
For me, this Christmas and new year period has inspired me to refocus on the children in my life. I have also received a very special gift this year….
…I have gained another brother.