We’ve only ever been on one Center Parcs holiday. Bee was about eight years old, and Belle was coming up for two. We went with our friend Lucy, who at the time only had one daughter, Ella, who was just a few weeks younger than Belle. Ours days fell quickly into a lovely routine of swimming, feeding babies and early nights, and it was all very lovely.
In fact I can tell you exactly when it was, I’ve just remembered – it must have been April 2004, as my Gran had just died, and while we were there I had to write the eulogy. I’d never been to a funeral until then, which is good going I think for a then 26 year old.
That’s jolly isn’t it?
Actually, in a morbid sort of a way, it fits quite nicely with the theme of this post. No, Center Parcs isn’t giving away some sort of funeral holiday package, but they are running a competition where you have to think about what your family means to you, and what your favourite thing about them is. Fitting then don’t you think that my time at Center Parcs was spent thinking a lot about my Gran and the important part she played in my life?
It’s a reminder too that we have to cherish our families while we can.
We go along with our everyday lives, getting annoyed with our kids when they forget to switch lights off, and wishing our partners would learn to read our minds so we didn’t have to explain every time we were irritated by something, but how often do we switch it around, and think instead about all of the things we love about them?
Some of my favourite things about my family:
I love how passionate and principled Bee is, and how brilliantly she has coped with moving to London on her own and doing her degree, even though it hasn’t always been easy. She’s graduating very soon, and I’m so proud of her and how much she has done already to make plans for the future.
I love how sassy Belle is, and how strong her sense of right and wrong is. I love that she gets annoyed if she doesn’t think other people in school are taking their work seriously. She once made me complain about a science teacher because she didn’t think he did enough practical work with them.
I love how excited my fiancé gets about new things, and how engrossed he gets. He has the most amazing creative ideas and just knows so much about proper grown-up subjects like music and history, and not because he has learnt them to sound impressive, but because he’s just interested. And I love how he laughs like a baby when I tickle him.
Bleurgh. Enough soppiness.
To enter the Center Parcs competition, all you have to do is record a short video telling Center Parcs what you love about your family. The prize is a Center Parcs break worth £500, and it doesn’t have to be fancy, a camera phone is fine. Find out how to enter HERE.
Belle wouldn’t do a video for me after her school friends all watched the last one she did, so I tricked Bee into doing it instead. As I’ve gone this far, I’m going to go all in and also show you the text messages we exchanged after I told her it was going into a blog post.
She always says the funniest bits of my blog posts are when I quote her.
The competition closes at 11.59pm on 3rd April, so get your skates on. Full T&Cs here. If you need a little more inspiration, here’s another very sweet video. No big sandwiches in this one though.