Isn’t it about time we celebrated families? In recent weeks we have had marches through London and other cities for Pride, LGBT and more, and that is great but let’s not forget the families who are often silently getting on with life. Why don’t we celebrate them with a march too? Apparently, according to my Google diary, there is such a thing as Family Day in the UK on 26 September this year. I am no good at organising these things, especially having just had a knee replacement so marching is not exactly my thing at the moment, but perhaps we can all raise a toast in some way on 26 September?
After all, keeping a family together is tough. Just this week I was telling my granddaughter that one of the very worst moments in a parent’s life is clearing up a child’s sick in the middle of the night. The next morning her Dad, my son, told me that my 7 year old grandson had been sick seven times all over the house throughout that night. There we go, you have to drag yourself out of bed, tend the sick child, change them, settle them and then clear up the disgusting mess, the smell of which lingers in your nostrils for days!
Other countries celebrate family far more than we do – look at the Greeks and Italians, it’s a part of their culture and it’s part of the joy of visiting those places. Whilst it is a step forward to celebrate many different ways of life, let’s not forget the family in that process. It’s hard work to put your children’s needs before your own over and over again, pull yourself out of bed to feed or change a baby or toddler, do a school run, prepare the lunchbox, go to work, pick them up and go through the whole homework, bathtime, and testing games of getting a child to stay in bed and go to sleep when finally one may be able to relax. But then there’s the adult relationship to keep going too. I didn’t manage that myself, sadly, and it is demanding to maintain a loving parental adult relationship over the long stretch of years, and I am full of admiration and envy of those who have managed it.
The wider family is also key to the successful functioning of any community – grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins and more. As they say, it takes a village to raise a child and it is lovely when one becomes fond of the children of friends as well as enjoying a loving relationship with grandchildren, nieces and nephews. The new generations.
This is the glue of the stability of a country because one invests so much love, work, and money into keeping a family together and so it matters that there is a good school in the neighbourhood, doctors, reasonable facilities, playgrounds. It makes us demanding of decent services and that keeps local and hopefully national standards up.
Presidents Putin and Xi would love it if our society fell to pieces. How they would laugh and take advantage were European civilisation to crumble – and you can be sure that their bots are busy undermining everything that we have built up over the centuries as it serves their purpose to weaken us.
So will you raise a glass with me to your own family and the families of all those you know and love on 26 September? I think they deserve it!