Organise the entire trip to suit yourself. It doesn’t matter what you plan or how much fun you think it’s going to be for them, it’ll suck. You’ll suck.
After a quick safety briefing and yet another reassurance for the Tweenagers that despite the dark clouds surrounding us it was very unlikely we would all be wiped out by a rogue bolt of lightning, we headed down a dark and forboding forest path into the heart of the Domain.
“One day”, I told Miss almost-12, “you’ll tell your friends how cool your parents were taking you to a music festival” to which she responded with the ultimate in tweenagese – the *sigh* *eyeroll* combo.
It’s about making time to spend with each other, doing something we’ll all enjoy, or something we would never have dreamed of doing otherwise – creating memories to share and stories to tell.
I can see why it’s called Whoa! As we pulled into the carpark it’s what all four of us said. This looks like nothing we’ve seen in NZ before. Slick, cool and lots of fun.
This year, Mothers Day didn’t quite go to plan. I’d given my kids a very specific brief. I didn’t want any presents, I just wanted their presence. “It would be nice to get out and do something together”, I told them. Imagine my surprise when my Mothers Day present turned out to be a horse riding experience. I was overwhelmed. What an amazing gift. And what wonderful children I have grown. Children who have clearly spent a long time saving enough money for us to all go horse riding together. There was silence. And nervous shuffling, before Miss 9 admitted that not only were we not booked to go horse riding that day, they hadn’t saved a single penny. The thought that they might actually have to pay for the gift they were giving me clearly hadn’t entered their heads. I thanked them graciously. After all, revenge is a dish served cold. A week or so later I took them to their favourite toy shop. I told them I’d love to buy them a present …
There’s nothing I love more than being on holiday. It doesn’t have to be a long holiday, or even a holiday to anywhere fancy. As long as I’m not at home facing the endless list of things that need to be done, then life is good. Which is why I think ‘giving the gift of an experience’ is a concept I’ve embraced. OK, maybe we’ve gone passed embracing and are now in a serious, long-term relationship. You see, last year the experiences I gave the kids for their birthdays were fun days out doing something they each loved. Miss 10 went horse-riding, Miss 8 went skiing and Mr 8 had a not-so-great day out at the Monster Slide festival. This year, I may just have taken it to a whole new level by using the idea of ‘giving presence’ as an excuse for a holiday (or two). I didn’t see anything wrong with this approach until a well-meaning friend pointed out that I might be setting the bar a bit high – creating an expectation that …
Just do it – even if you’ve been to the Zoo a thousand times before. The night walk is a great chance to see the animals without all the crowds, and to learn more about them all from the knowledgeable team who manage this event.
It’s not that we’re not giving presents this year, it’s just that what we’re giving doesn’t need to be wrapped.
Giving presence is about spending time and creating memories with the special people in your life.