I’m a huge believer in living life to the full. I’ve written before about how important I think it is to build memories: snapshots we can look back on and treasure. Years from now, we’re not going to remember the handbag we spent our birthday money on, or the fabulous jumper we spent a month’s salary to buy – what we will remember is holding hands watching a perfect sunset or an evening laughing with friends.
As a parent, I’m keen for the boys to do the same. I always try to encourage them to spend their money wisely, and choose experiences that will become memories that they can treasure, rather than just wasting it on more ‘stuff’. I try to say yes to jumping off the bridge into the harbour, when every part of me is screaming ‘argh! we have no towels! The car seats will be soaking!’, to be their most encouraging, enthusiastic supporter.
This philosophy came back to bite me rather hard on the bottom last week, when one of their favourite American bands, A Day to Remember – were touring in this country and were playing at the Alexandra Palace. At first glance, a gig in London on a weekday seemed a stretch too far, so I initially said no, but then a couple of the other parents said yes, and there was quite a big group of them, and wanting them to experience a fabulous time and have the memories of a wonderful night with friends, I said yes.
Sadly, this also coincided with the biggest storms that we’d seen for a good few years, so a gig that ended at 11 turned into a nightmare of cancelled tubes and trains, changed plans, anxious texts, (and copious amounts of tea and chocolate and rubbish TV to keep me awake) and an epic journey which ended with me picking them up from the station – still singing the songs, ears ringing, exhilarated, but exhausted, at 2.20am.
Trying to drag them, grumpy and zombie-like, out of bed the next morning taught me a valuable parenting lesson: encourage them to experience everything, embrace every wonderful moment, take snapshots that will last forever, but…
Just not on a school night, eh?