After nearly ten years of marriage, Grumpy and I still snog passionately several times a day. This only occurs under “normal” circumstances, like so long as we’re not fighting or I’m not going through some sort of deep dark Dee-pressive episode, you understand.
Last night after being released from a particularly passionate embrace, our daughter looked up at us and said: “You guys sure do kiss an awful lot.” It was an observation, not a complaint.
“Do you think we kiss and cuddle more than normal mummies and daddies?” I asked our only daughter.
“Well DUH!” She responded rolling her big green eyes.
“Does it bother you?” I asked.
“Nope.” Was the welcome response.
“So why do you think it is that we are such exceptionally affectionate Hobbits after all this time Steph?” I inquired.
“Well.” She said, with a nonchalant and thoughtful sigh. “I am pretty sure it has a lot to do with the fact you have the biggest boobs, and daddy is DEFINITELY a boob man.” She responded in an exceptionally deadpan and matter-of fact tone.
Okay then. Grumpy is a boob man and the children have cottoned on to this. Duly noted.
We are generally a very affectionate bunch. Our children get a Jack of kisses on the head (that’s five kisses, one for each year of their cousin Jack’s life) every single day, several times a day and are quick to remind us in the morning if we’ve forgotten.
We also have a hugging ritual called a sandwich – where one member of the family is squeezed between at least two of the others. Sandwiches occur most frequently when we’re waiting in queues, someone has had a bad day, or rather aptly – in the kitchen. Kitchens are a place for sandwiches it seems.
Something else that is undeniably important in our household and family dynamic is music. Music is directly responsible for the life that we enjoy. A little over 15 years ago, Grumpy created an algorithm and then invented some software that helps people around the world to engineer music for their own and others enjoyment. That first invention gave way to the resources needed for more inventions, and there is now a team of amazing geniuses making features and inventing gadgets that are used the world over by DJs and post production studio engineers. So we owe a lot to music. And it is not just respect and gratitude, we Love music as it is a universal language, a window to so much feeling and emotion and it fills our home and our hearts.
So our children make music. Oh my WORD do these children make some noise. They dance, they shout, they sing and they let it all out. Daniel plays the drums, Steph is frighteningly proficient in piano, and our youngest little firecracker Adam knows the lyrics to dozens – if not hundreds of songs and busts them out regularly while shaking his unreasonably adorable three-year-old rump. We also have a story and a song most nights, and have read and sung together as a family at bedtime since only a few days after our first son was born. It’s nice.
We’re also a family of snugglers. The children crash down the stairs from their rooms every morning for a ritual of warm mum and dad snuggles. Not sure if any of the other parents out there have noticed this, but in our family, the boys are by far the more snuggly of the children. Steph adores her hugs of course, but the boys, they crave the safety and warmth of snuggles (particularly their mother’s) when they are feeling anxious or low, and are quite happy to wrap themselves in my arms for ages. Sometimes they even stay wrapped up in my arms till they fall asleep if they’ve had a particularly bad day or are feeling particularly anxious or out of sorts. I dread the day that this ends, as I think it makes me feel even safer than it does them.
And the last thing I am going to touch on is undeniably the most important. Ours is a family where sincerity is paramount in all that we do and are. In our home, you will always get in less trouble for telling the truth, even if the truth is not particularly pleasant.
We do not sugar coat, we do not use lofty euphemisms to soften blows or obscure things that make us uncomfortable. We try not to be too obtuse or callous when talking about difficult matters either. But sincerity in word and deed is something that we try and instill in our children daily.
The children have, and will continue, to run into the same problems as us because of this vast respect for honesty, integrity and sincerity. They tend to believe that other people mean what they say. We encourage them to give people the benefit of the doubt, and they always do. Because of this, our children will fall prey to the bollocks of bullshit artists, just as their parents so frequently do. On balance, I think it works out in the end. The force our family refers to as Karma seems to take care of the fallout for the most part.
I’m not saying they are perfect or above reproach, and all of them lie or act immorally or just badly from time to time. On balance though, they seem to have an inner voice and moral compass that I can’t take too much credit for. They prefer to be honest and sincere and question things and seek truth and explanation every moment of their lives. They crave knowledge and take responsibility for mistakes and apologise and learn with earnest when they mess up.
We like them. We Love them. We feel amazingly blessed to be joining them on their journey through childhood and beyond.