Monday, 19 December 2011

Unsung family-heros

It could be said, that in many ways, being a parent is both the greatest and the most challenging thing you will ever experience.  As parents, we have to do the stuff with raising our kids that they don’t always appreciate – surviving the sleepless nights and childhood illnesses, getting them to eat healthily, disciplining them, encouraging them to do their homework, getting them to bed at a reasonable time, taking them to school, and all that before we even begin thinking about  the teenage years.  Nevertheless, with these responsibilities in this leading role, we get a grand title along with the easy recognition of our importance in our children’s lives. 

We also become part of the ‘Parent club’.  Our status is changed and we can knowingly exchange stories and child rearing tips with the other members of the club.  We duly receive our payback from the love of our children and from seeing them, at close quarters, grow and develop into the adults they will become, hopefully fulfilling their potential and leading full and happy lives.  And, despite the worry, and the inevitable guilt (this may just be a mother thing) about something, anything, (another post for another day) we also get years of entertainment and joy.  As parents we are no longer simply a couple, we are a family in our own right.

Grandparents also get the grand title. They have already paid their dues in raising us and we can reward them by enabling and supporting their relationships with their grandchildren.  Grandparents are generally visible and respected in playing a key role in the lives of their grandchildren and we recognise that role with an acknowledgement of the importance of these relationships and in spending time together.

But here’s a question, what about the often unsung hero’s that are the Aunties and Uncles?  Roles that I think can often be underrated.  As an only child (and therefore with no siblings to bring into the mix, although a handful of The Friends more than fulfil the role) I really appreciate the fact that The Husbands two sisters and their husbands take their roles as Aunties and Uncles seriously and put in a considerable amount of effort in to nurturing their relationships with our two boys.  A classic example of this yesterday…

The (coughing his guts up but pretending he’s not ill) Husband, The (I reeeeeaaaallly can’t wait for Christmas) Seven Year Old, The (bemused “why is there a tree in the living room?”) Baby, and Me spent a lovely relaxed afternoon yesterday at one of The Sisters-in-Law’s house. In her role as Auntie, she had created this opportunity to bake seasonal gingerbread biscuits with The Seven Year Old.  They spent hours throughout the afternoon weighing and mixing and chatting and laughing together. 

The Seven Year Old was delighted to be able to get stuck-in without me or The Husband interfering and it meant that he was able to proudly distribute his baked goods to us without our having had any input into producing them.  He was incredibly happy to be able to share the interesting assortment of biscuit shapes he’d chosen to make. It would be fair to say that some of them were less than traditional. For example the one we named ‘The Christmas Spider” – we all agreed that ‘nothing says Christmas like the spider’.  On saying that, both me and The Seven Year Old were most impressed by The Sister in Laws true story from her travels in Australia of an actual spider by the name of the Christmas spider – it changes it’s colour at Christmastime and everything, how fab is that?! Anyway, after eating too much gingerbread than should be allowed in one sitting, we then rounded the day off with fish and chips.  It may not have been the healthiest of eating days but it was really relaxed lovely lazy Sunday. 

The real point of this post is simply to say thank you to The Two Sisters-in-Law and their husbands for being fantastic Aunties and Uncles.  Here is some public recognition - albeit to a small audience - of your roles in our children’s lives.  And I'd like to extend this thank you to the closest of The Friends who don't have a title at all in respect of their relationships with our children but who are every bit as much a part of our family and who also play a valuable role in enriching our lives. 

Crikey.  That was quite deep and emotional for me for a Monday.  Anyone would think it was a time of peace and goodwill or something... please rest assured that the normal style of writing with mildly sarcastic undertones will resume tomorrow. 

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