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My little girl Molly and I were talking over Christmas about the year ahead and what we hoped it would bring.
I don’t mean world peace, winning the lottery or my forthcoming engagement to George Clooney, we were talking about what we could do to make our weekends together a bit more varied in 2012, and how we needed to think of new, fun things to do with our free time.
So Molly came up with a great idea – mum and daughter dates. She got us both to write down six things each that we’d like to do together – an activity, a pastime or an outing. These needed to be achievable (a trip to the moon was out), reasonably cheap (because of the current Agnew household austerity measures) and something that would be enjoyed by just the two of us.
It really made us think, and actually it was quite difficult to think of things that weren’t going to be cost-prohibitive or too outlandish.
Eventually we each completed a list and, without revealing them to each other, we folded up the 12 separate pieces of paper and put them in a pot. The plan is that each month this year we’re going to pick out one of them. Then we have to commit to making time to do that activity that month.
Afterwards, Molly is going to write a review of each date and include photographs if appropriate.
At the end of the year we’ll have a wonderful book of 12 mum and daughter dates for posterity and, if we decide it’s been successful, we can start again with new ideas (or repetitions of the particularly good ones) next year.
The thing is, I found it so hard to come up with the ideas that it made me think about how in all areas of life we can get stuck in a routine.
We go to the same places, wear the same clothes and eat the same food, week in week out. And it’s the same with the weekends that Molly and I share together.
She spends every other weekend at her dad’s, so when we are together without school or work getting in the way, we are often quite happy to just be at home, watching telly or playing a game, or going out to the shops or doing the weekend chores.
So this really seemed like a good idea – let’s shake things up and try some new stuff!
Of course, if money were no object, there would be lots of amazing things we could do.
But the whole point of this was to think about affordable, entertaining things that we don’t normally do, whether out and about or at home.
And it seems we got there in the end.
The weird thing is that I’ve already forgotten what ideas I put down (must be my age). I do have a horrible feeling that one of them included roller skates, which was clearly written during a moment of madness, but I truly can’t remember the others and of course don’t know what Molly has written.
So they should come as a complete surprise, which of course is all part of the fun.
We pulled the first one out of the pot at the beginning of January and it was one of Molly’s.
It was a trip to a ceramics cafe, which I was delighted with.
We haven’t done that together for many years and it’s a lovely way to spend a couple of hours being creative.
So we’re booked in for a ceramic painting session in a couple of weeks at the Ceramics Cafe in West Ealing and I’m really looking forward to it.
However, what I’m looking forward to even more (without wishing 2012 away) is reviewing it all at the end of the year, looking at our date diary and seeing which was our best date and which was our worst.
And who knows, maybe this is going to be something we do together for many years to come.
I might have to force her to come out with me during her teenage years when she’ll no doubt hate me and/or simply find me an embarrassment, but I’d love to think that when she has a family of her own we might still have regular monthly mum and daughter dates.
Although maybe I’ll have to swap my roller skates for a Zimmer frame then.
NOTE TO SELF: Don’t wait, make your memories today.