About six and a half years (and one lifetime) ago in the lead up to the birth of our first child, I found myself in the lobby of a city hotel waiting for my husband to pick me up from a work function. I was in a state of euphoria – only days away from having 12 months off work, and blissfully ignorant of what lay ahead. I had recently bought myself a new little journal from Kikki K and decided to spend some time jotting down a few musings. How marvellous, I thought – this is what my life will be like from now on!
Of course, there has been slightly more to the last six and a half years than writing in that journal. In fact, I think I still have it and I’m fairly certain it hasn’t been written in since. But that journal has paid for itself many times over, in what I have since come to consider as a (sadly one off) stroke of genius – “The Rose Family Way”.
As I sat in that lobby dreaming of the family that we would become (think the Keatons, I’m Elyse), I decided to compile a mission statement – a set of guiding principles, if you will. If I were setting up a new company, I wouldn’t dream of being without such a thing – surely a new family deserves nothing less? After all, if everything goes according to plan we will hopefully be in business for longer…
Hubby was on board – he loves that stuff. We spent the short car trip home refining, word-smithing, talking about how clever we were – and by dinner time that night the only job left was to type it up, print it out and stick it on the wall:
THE ROSE FAMILY WAY
- We love each other unconditionally (no matter what happens)
- We laugh together, even when we feel grumpy
- We try new things, on our own and together
- We help each other
- We know we can tell each other anything
- We always try our best
- We enjoy the journey (we enjoy every day)
Over the years I have occasionally wanted to add new principles, but to my surprise have found that we already have them covered.:
- We do not throw our food all over the floor = We always try our best
- We come to the dinner table after being asked once, not twenty times = We help each other
- We try not to accidentally head butt our mother in the temple causing her to cry = We laugh together, even when we feel grumpy
The Rose Family Way principles have proven quite handy as reference points in many a post incident discussion, however we recently discovered they might not be all encompassing after all.
Last Sunday our two and a half year old daughter threw a piece of fairy bread at me (hard) in a fit of blind rage. She was standing over three metres away, yet she managed to get me right between the eyes. After she was taken to her room for a time out, hubby and I mulled over the incident – he with a barely concealed glow of pride at his daughter’s impressive throwing arm, me while nibbling despondently on stray hundreds and thousands. While definitely applicable, “We always try our best” or “We try new things on our own and together” somehow didn’t seem quite right. In the end we agreed that throwing fairy bread at your mother just goes against the general vibe of the thing…
Sometimes in the day-to-day bustle of family life, particularly after copping a party favour to the head, I find myself questioning my parenting skills. But that very night over dinner, our first-born daughter recited all seven principles unprompted. And then our fairy bread throwing 2.5 year old ran to her room, returned to the table with her framed copy, and proceeded to attempt to read it (albeit upside down): “We don’t cry at swimming lessons”, “We don’t cry at junior kindy”. My spirits soared – there may be hope yet…
Who knows if the Rose Family Way will stand the test of time (as all good guiding principles should), but for now at least I will take a moment to pat myself on the back and reflect fondly on that time I spent waiting in the lobby of the Four Seasons hotel all those years ago – it may just prove to be half an hour very well spent.