I cannot emphasise enough just how blessed I was to have such lovely parents. They were kind, considerate and extremely loving. As I get older I appreciate them more and more and know that I could not have achieved so much if they hadn't given me such a wonderful start. My father worked long shifts. He would leave early in the morning and on a normal day wouldn't return until after midnight. I'm sure the unions wouldn't let that happen now, but in those days it was regular. He worked a shift pattern that ran over two weeks, and mostly included a day off after the long shift - except at weekends, when one weekend in two was worked.
I thought about this again last night. We all loved his weekends at home, not least because he would do surprising things. I remember one Saturday. My grandfather had been very ill and my mother had been helping my grandmother to nurse him. They only lived around the corner at this time, but it was hard work. When it was time for her to come home he bundled my brother and I into the car and we drove all of 250 yards to collect her. This was unusual, but we had no idea why. Surprised, my mother asked what was happening. 'We're going out for afternoon tea'.
This was very unusual and quite exciting. However, when we got to our destination there was no obvious tearoom in sight and we couldn't understand why we were there. Dad explained that it was just along there - at the end of a path, so off we skipped with Mum to find it. To find what? There was nothing there. No tearoom, in fact, it was a dead end and we just had to turn around and go back. What a disappointment! Or was it?
When we got back to the car we had such a lovely surprise. A blanket was spread out on the ground and it was laid with a tasty spread, just ready for afternoon tea! Dad had not only packed a picnic he had also spent the morning baking so that Mum didn't need to. We had such fun, and afterwards there was plenty of space for my brother and I to run atound and play.
Thank you Dad and Mum for teaching me that spending time with the family brings its own rewards, and for encouraging me in all that I did. Sadly my Dad is no longer here, but my Mother continues to encourage in her own sweet way.
Enjoy your family as much as possible. It makes for very sweet memories.