So a potted history of Father's Day...
The idea of a special day to celebrate fathers was introduced from the United States. Sonora Smart Dodd was inspired by the American Mother's Day celebrations to plan a day to honour her father. Her mother had died in childbirth and her father became a single parent to six children. She felt he had done an amazing job and believed that he deserved the recognition that mothers get on Mother's Day.
In 1909 she approached the Spokane YMCA and the Ministerial Alliance and suggested that the 5th of June, her father's birthday, should become a celebration day for Fathers . The story goes that the Ministerial Alliance needed more preparation time so chose June 19th instead. The first Father's Day was thus observed in the State of Washington on June 19th, 1910.
The idea of officially celebrating fatherhood then spread quickly across the United States. Eventually, in 1966, President Lyndon Johnson issued a proclamation calling for the third Sunday in June to be recognized as Father's Day. As with many American traditions the UK followed suit and also celebrates Father's Day on the third Sunday in June.
Livestock strutting around
Stansted Mountfitchet Castle
Luckily, my husband is good at sharing as he often has to share his Father's Day with children's birthday celebrations as we have two mid June birthdays.
This year we were down two of our own children but up one foreign exchange student. We decided to plan a fun, stress and travel free outing that would be interesting to my parents, us, my brother and our exchange student. We settled on a visit to Stansted Mountfitchet Castle. It is only 5 minutes away and is a fine example of a Norman Motte and Bailey Castle. It wowed us with the concept that it is apparently the only medieval Castle and Norman Village reconstructed on its original site to exist in the world.
We were blessed with a lovely warm, sunny day which was a welcome break in an otherwise wet week. We were greeted by an abundance of livestock roaming the grounds including deer, geese, rabbits, chickens and a rather proud peacock.
As we celebrated Father's Day last Sunday it has given me the perfect opurtunity to write a tribute blog to the fathers that I share family life with and reflect a little on parenting in general.
My husband and I are both fortunate that we still have the support and love of both sets of parents. They are all still in pretty reasonable shape despite my mum and dad giving us a bit of a scare having both suffered heart attacks within the past few years . They also all still enjoy very active lives. My father-in-law is currently studying for a BA in English with the Open University, as I am too. It has been great as we have both been able to save a few pennies by swapping books. More importantly, it has given us some common ground and something to chat about.
My dad can often be found in London at one of the concert venues or off exploring other countries with my mum. It wasn't that long ago that they ventured off to New Zealand, hiring a campervan and proudly stating that they were SKIS, 'Spending the Kids Inheritance' and why not?
Not only have our parents been great role models that have helped us develop as parents ourselves but also through their practical help and support.
Puppets and Sooty memorabilia
Technology may have changed but siblings haven't...
Locked in the stocks by a sibling and taking a selfie!
Reminded me of hiding behind cushions on a Saturday night
Even sillier photo of my mum and brother
Well, we certainly had fun, amused ourselves and our guest and proved that you are never too old for a silly photo (my dad is a mature 80 year old).
Father's Day was a great opportunity to celebrate with my dad and my husband, who is also a great father and role model to our kids. Hopefully a day set aside to focus on fathers helped make them feel special and appreciated.
Silly Photo with my father
My husband (father to our 4 children)
and his father
It is 1066 in a Norman Village
Included in the ticket is a visit to a toy museum. The highlight for us was swapping our 20 pence coins for some old pennies and enjoying some penny slot machines and old pinball games. I felt a bit worried that the museum was full of toys that I recognised and could be deemed from my era!