Today's act of kindness for the month of Ramadan was a little bit spesh not only because it was genuinely spontaneous, but because it involved treasure. Real, proper treasure.
Since we moved to South Devon about a year and a half ago, we have discovered the wonders of Trago Mills. For the bargain hunters among us, it is amazing because it's basically the poor man's Harrods. The site at Newton Abbott (apparently there are more of these hot spots across the South West) astounds the senses with a sprawling garden centre, a decent selection of eateries, and an impressive department store selling off clothes, furniture, sports equipment, technologies, toys and all that jazz. And if that isn't enough to hook you, they have PEACOCKS.
When the hubby announced that we'd be venturing out to Trago today, I felt my soul split down the middle. One half was well up for wandering calmly around the pretty grounds, waiting for peacocks to shake their tail feathers (see above!) and chewing casually on Cornish pasties. The other half went into ice cold dread. Because Trago is not just a place to eat, buy and wander - it also has a family fun park.
How much 'fun' it is in reality is questionable. Sure, go-karts, bumper-boats, trampolines and remote-controlled cars seem like they'd bring out the best in a child. But I think we've established time and time again on this blogging platform, that the Yardimci Lads rarely perform to expectations. A wilful child full of Hell and ice cream is NOT easy to get off a plastic pedal boat. You can take my word for that.
And this shit can get expensive. On arriving you, as the doting parent, are supposed to purchase a stack of Trago tokens, so your offspring can whizz around the park and disperse them into slots, and hence take advantage of all the activities. These tokens are therefore like treasure to children - far more impressive than actual money and far more likely to be spent in the shake of a (peacock) tail feather.
And when the tokens run out, well, put it this way: you'd better have the car engine running because it is NOT an easy exit.
I must admit, after all of those musings, the trip was pretty painless in the end. I did wonder if maybe the Yardimci Lads are finally growing up a bit and starting to show some empathy to their parents. If we turn a blind eye to the fact that Big Lad manically 'flossed' his way around the grounds and Little Lad disappeared on his scooter umpteen times, then it was a fairly pleasant experience.
It was made even more pleasant when we bumped into some friends from the Lads' school. I happen to know that these particular friends, Esme and Eli, are gorgeous little people. I know this because they both took part in my mindfulness course for children recently AND their angel-like Mum, Louise, assisted me on the whole course, magically making the whole thing possible.
Since I've known her, I have thanked my lucky stars for Louise on more than one occasion and maybe it was that, that made the hubby step forward and do what he did next.
(Basically, he stole the Lad's thunder for kindness today)
With the Trago treasure equally distributed between Esme and Eli - and - get this - without a word of protest uttered by the Yardimci Lads - all was well with the world. I believe all four kiddies climbed into the nearest tyre-shaped-bumper-car-thingies and the treasure was well spent. I think afterwards Eli may have had an emotional quandary over how to spend his remaining tokens but I left Louise and her hubby to figure that one out, because by that point, my two were whinging for their Cornish pasties.
So even though the Lads had their thunder stolen for today, it was kind of nice that their Dad showed a small gesture of kindness on impulse. He may have given Esme and Eli a quick fix of joy on the bumper cars, but he also sneaked in an essential life lesson for the Lads: Share your treasure where you can, because the delight of giving far outweighs the gold.
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