So, I spent Saturday night sleeping on the sofa. Not because I’d argued with Mr Kirstwrites and abandoned the marital bed, but in honour of something called National Den Day.
I know what you’re thinking: Den Day, is that really a thing? Well yes it is – I could be cynical here and say that anything can be a thing these days if someone with a marketing budget and a bit of social media savvy decides to make it a thing. But anyway, Den Day is a Save the Children activity to encourage children to build a den to raise money and awareness of the plight of children around the world who have to live in temporary shelters. My Mum was a supporter of Save the Children so I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for them as a charity. What’s more, I spend a lot of fairly routine time sitting in front of a computer for the charity I work for, so if I’m going to do any fundraising in my free time, it’s got to be something silly and fun (like this).
But the most important reason for taking part in Den Day, in my humble opinion, is this…. there’s really no good reason not to. As a parent, I think every now and then you should do something daft with your kids, just because. It’s something I certainly don’t do often enough in amongst the daily grind of getting them fed and cleaned and to school on time. So on Saturday evening, we arranged all the dining chairs in a circle in the living room, draped an enormous dust sheet on the top, filled our den with cushions, rugs and sleeping bags, and settled down inside to watch a DVD through the opening which we’d strategically created facing the telly (The Sound of Music, in case you’re wondering – because, obviously, it’s about children being forced to leave their home and become refugees… and we all like singing that song about the lonely goatherd)
And it really was as simple as that – that’s all it took to have a really memorable, fun evening. 12YO and 5YO got to stay up late watching a movie and eating Doritos, and then sleep on the living room floor rather than in their own separate bedrooms. I got a prolonged cuddle all evening from both of them. Husband – who, at 6’3″ is at a disadvantage when it comes to sleeping in confined spaces – got the chance to withdraw to the other room and watch the football in peace. Unfortunately when I crept upstairs, post-movie, to clean my teeth, I came back down to find that they’d both stretched out and filled the entire den, so I had to grab my sleeping bag in the dark, climb over the chairs and spend the night on the sofa. But I woke up to climb back into the den for a chat and a cuddle very early the next morning, then we took our sleeping bags and slid down the stairs together, crashing down to the bottom in a giggly heap.
So thank you Save the Children for coming up with #DenDay, and for giving it a slightly catchier name than ‘you don’t need a reason to build a den with your children, you should just do it because it’s fun’ day. That alone is a worth a donation. I haven’t got around to creating a sponsorship page, but if anyone would like to contribute to Save the Children I recommend that you sponsor our good friends Anne and Patrick who also took part and have actually made the effort to set up a page – which you can visit here.