I guess it’s no surprise that we’re already midway through the month of May and I haven’t even made any progress on this month’s word-count. Procrastination may have reared its ugly head, just as it always does, but research, thinking about writing and daydreaming about your characters definitely counts as writing-related activities even if I haven’t actually added any words to my WIP, right? Never fear though, with a couple of nights staying up until 3 a.m. I’ll definitely have this month’s word-count goal met and avoid a virtual arse-kicking from my friend.
While I’ve been procrastinating from actually adding words to my current WIP, I guess you could say I’ve been living life and enjoying the little things, something which I try to focus on as much as possible (as I’ve written about here and here).
After our kite flying fun a few weeks ago, I have been meaning to introduce my three kids to Mary Poppins, which I finally did a few nights ago. Not only did they thoroughly enjoy it, especially the “singing bits” as stated by Master 5yo, but I enjoyed it too. No matter how many times I’ve seen Mary Poppins, there’s always something magical about it and each time I notice something different or get something more out of watching it.
This time, not only did I share in my children’s joy and excitement, but I also saw the characters and the story from an adult’s point of view. When I was young, I always thought that Mary Poppins came to help the children and kind of hated her for leaving. As I got older though and especially after watching it again with my children, I came to realise that Mary Poppins wasn’t there to help the children, not really. Sure, she looked after Jane and Michael, took them on some of the most amazing outings you could ever imagine and showed them an awesome way to tidy up the nursery, but in truth she was there to save Mr. Banks and the entire Banks family. This understanding of Mary Poppins saving the Banks family was reinforced when I finally got around to watching Saving Mr. Banks, the same night I introduced the kids to Mary Poppins, after they were all tucked into bed. I know that Saving Mr. Banks is the Hollywood version of a “true story”, however it reinforced for me, the importance of the character of Mary Poppins in the lives of countless readers and viewers, and perhaps in the life of author P.L Travers, creator of Mary Poppins.
I think that the story of Mary Poppins and the Banks family, reminds us as adults, that while it is important to earn a living and support a family, it should not be at the expense or detriment of the family itself.
Too often we focus on earning the money to support our family and in the process we fail to truly support them by being there for them and spending time together as a family. Supporting a family is much more than earning coin, of course money is needed for food, clothes and a roof over your heads, but we also need to remember the reason why needed to earn money in the first place – to support a family.
I know things aren’t always easy, far from it most of the time. The bills don’t stop piling up just because you want to take time to be with your family, the mortgage payments aren’t put on hold every time you want to take the children on a holiday or out for an ice-cream, even. There will always be something that needs to be paid, something we need money for and sometimes we are overwhelmed by this, just trying to make ends meet. Spending time with your children though can be something as simple as reading a book together, watching a movie or going for a walk and spotting a rainbow or flying a kite.
Earlier in the week, when I got the children ready for bed, instead of choosing a picture book for reading a chapter of one of their favourite Roald Dahl books before bed, I decided to read them a story I wrote for them that I intend to be a children’s picture book one day. This story was inspired by the endless questions that my children (and all children I suppose) ask. One day, when I told my children that I loved them, instead of asking, “how much?”, one of my boys (although I can’t quite recall which one it was now) asked me, “How many?” This is when the children’s story How Many Do You Love Me? was conceived. I’ve been sitting on this story for a couple of months now and the other night I finally read it to my children before bedtime.
They listened carefully, without interrupting (a very rare occurrence) and at the end of the story Miss 8yo asked, “Is that story about us?”, I nodded, then Mr. 5yo said dreamily, “That was lovely.” Now they wish it was a “real” book, with pictures and pages and everything, so I guess I need to find a way to make it so. Not for fame or fortune or any of that, but for the children. My own and for children everywhere, because each and every child needs to know how much (or “many”) they are loved and cherished.
So let’s go fly a kite somewhere over the rainbow and make memories that our children (and us) will cherish forever.
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