Making memories. Cultivating family traditions, surprising your kids and dreaming up the greatest holidays your budget can handle is one of the best things about being a parent.
Some traditions, like breakfast in bed for Fathers Day and roast turkey for Christmas lunch seem to have been passed down from generation to generation. While others, you get to make it up as you go along.
For instance, Ann and I aren’t overly fussed about birthdays for ourselves but we decided a few years ago to try and make them incredible for our kids. Without lots of money for expensive outings, Ann set about creating complex themed parties at home and baking some SERIOUSLY EPIC cakes for the boys. Ironically, those cost-saving cakes eventually spawned into a successful small business (check out Ann’s culinary artwork at her ridiculously popular blog www.howtocookthat.net and you’ll see what I’m talking about).
Planning great family holidays is another tradition we’ve built over the years. Sometimes it’s just been a beach break down the coast but, in recent years, we’ve been trying to get interstate or even overseas (anyone travelling with kids knows that this is no easy feat) for our annual vacation.
It all started a few years ago with a holiday to Langkawi Island in Malaysia after a particularly hectic 12 months of work. We travelled with Singaporean friends and landed on the island excited about the week ahead.
Unfortunately, within an hour we’d hit a major travel bug when we discovered someone had stolen $1000 from us along the way! Being a normal bloke, I proceeded to rant, rave and plot seven different types of revenge for whoever had the audacity to try and bust our break. It wasn’t until a few hours later that I realised that it was actually me who was a bigger threat to our holiday.
The revelation came as I was putting my eldest boy into bed at night and, in the simplicity of a 6-year-old, he sadly prayed that our holiday wouldn’t be ruined because of the theft. I suddenly realised that despite my best intentions, I was on the verge of creating all the wrong memories for my kids.
I needed to show my boys that it was possible to forgive and, as tough as it was, to forget about the loss and move on. So that’s exactly what we did, swallowed the loss and chose not to discuss it any more. The rest of our trip was fantastic, full of cheeky monkeys, speed boats, cheap banana pancakes and beautiful white beaches with millions of tiny crabs that nipped at your toes.
And when it was over, we even wrote a travel article (words by me, photo of our boys by Ann) and earned back some of the money that was stolen. The stolen cash is long gone but the amazing memories are still with us. Forgiveness can be good like that.
My first novel 'The Deep Enders' released 2016. Available on Amazon and in print.