It’s family day across most of the country, a holiday, a time to spend quality time with the ones we love. As a Minister I don’t usually take holidays, I try to avoid work on Fridays but otherwise I attempt to be available when needed. Many of those ordained when I was (1990) and after make very clear declarations that they will take these days off, they are entitled to time off and time with their loved one. I get their point. Some of these Ministers are what we call “PK’s”, meaning Preacher’s kids and they did not see their father (most of that generation’s clergy were male) and therefore resent the church. They properly ask, “so what was gained for the ultimate work of the church by my father being out 5 nights a week?” It’s a good question. Because if nothing important was gained for those labours we do know that something was lost, rare opportunities for parents to be with their children.
Our household situation is fairly unique. My partner is not working outside the home (her choice, I long since stopped sending her job information) and she enjoys the role of stay-at-home mother, looking after our daughter’s immediate needs. Kim deals with the household challenges, cooks the meals, pays the bills, and does all the driving. To provide financially for the household expenses I work three jobs, one full-time and two part-time. It is a challenge to do all of that, 77 hours a week, and make room for family time. It works for us but I suspect the reason it does has to do with the long time Kim and I were married, no children, both working full-time. We spent a lot of time together.
Every family is unique, there is no “normal” family schedule. Still every family needs time to be together so the key is to find ways to make that happen. I try to spend every Saturday with my daughter. If I have meetings in the morning, I had two such meetings this week, I make sure to spend the afternoon with her. And when we are together I make sure I am wholly present to her, we usually go downtown, walk around the city core. Lucy is amazed with how many people I know, the homeless, the CEO’s, the store owners, the police, the lawyers… Living most of my life in Halifax has its advantages. You might think these encounters would get in the way of family time but they don’t. Lucy likes the variety of the interactions, the meeting all sorts of people and how the conversations are jammed with dialogue, humour, and current events.
While Kim is a very suburban person and I am a very urban person Lucy is a little bit of both and she moves easily in both worlds. Lucy can see and feel what I like about cities, when the three of us took a family vacation, the only one in the last 5 years) we went to New York City. Lucy and I loved the energy and dynamic quality of the big apple, Kim “not so much”. That trip was a great opportunity for us all to be together, there was no work to distract me or consume me, and so my attention was entirely on them. The highlight, we all agree, was the walk through Central Park, from one end to the other. Kim had heard of a famous pub (Tavern on the Green), apparently it is featured in many movies, and we stopped there after hours on foot. We all look back on that experience with warm memories.
How are you spending your family day?