A few weeks back I was chatting to a friend of mine whose parents had gone through a rough divorce when he was young. He lived with mom but got to see dad every weekend.
What I loved is that his dad made him a promise that he would call him every evening to say goodnight. And he did. For the next ten years, without fail, his dad called him at 7pm to say goodnight and tell him how much he loved him.
This, my friend explained, was a little gesture that made a big difference in his life. He knew he was loved and he knew he could rely on his dad whenever for whatever. Now as an adult he still speaks of those phone calls fondly and him and his dad have a relationship built on love, trust and respect.
He didn’t remember or think to mention gifts his dad had given him over the years. That didn’t matter. It was a tiny little thing that has had the biggest impact on his life.
Mark and I try and do little things for Emma. Like notes in her lunchbox and around the house. Following sparkly footprints around the garden in search of fairies. Showing up for things when we’ve said we will. Keeping promises that we’ve made.
Times are tough for families and with Christmas around the corner there’s the very real danger of being sucked into the commercialism of it all and spending money we don’t have, I need to remind myself that it’s not about the things that kids can see but rather how things make them feel.