This past week, when 22 people died following a heinous attack in Manchester, has been extremely difficult for everyone.

I consider myself lucky because no-one I know was involved, but I still struggled to make sense of it. An attack of this nature on any group of human beings is abhorrent, but to target innocent children and young people is a different kind of evil.

I’ve struggled to find the words to truly express how I feel about the attack, particularly as a parent. In the aftermath of such wickedness, words somehow seem meaningless. They won’t bring back any of the 22 who died and they won’t dry the eyes of all those who lost loved ones.

We saw the worst side of the human race this past week, but we also saw the best too. Our emergency services and the number of people who scrambled to look after those who were injured were amazing. The vigils in Albert Square show a unity of spirit that refuses to be cowed.

It also reminded me of what is most important in my life: my family.

Every day with my children is a gift. I know this. Even so, it can be hard to truly make the most of each and every day. There are always mundane, everyday chores to be done – clothes to be washed, food to be bought, floors to clean, rooms to tidy etc. – which can get in the way of quality family time.

It can be so easy to live your life on autopilot – get up, go to work, come home, put children to bed, tidy the house, go to sleep ad infinitum – but you can miss out on so much without even releasing it.

Focusing on family fun.

This weekend, I decided to disengage my autopilot. The chores could wait. I wanted to get outside and have some family fun with my children. To cuddle them, be silly with them and laugh with them.

Instead of staying at home doing the washing, shopping and gardening, we kept ourselves busy doing nothing. That is, ff you count ‘nothing’ as mini golf.

Rascal Bay, mini golf, family fun

Rascal Bay, family, fun

Rascal Bay, family fun

Rascal Bay, mini golf, family fun

Rascal Bay, family fun

Rascal Bay, mini golf, family fun

The joy of being busy doing nothing.

Both Olivia and William were over the moon when I told them about my mini golf idea. They were introduced to it a few years ago when we had our first family holiday to Florida and love the quirkiness of it.

We have a great mini golf course not too far from where we live, so that was the destination for our outdoor adventure.

The weather was absolutely glorious for our afternoon of family fun. I was pleased I had remembered the factor 50 suncream and bottles of water. I was not so pleased with my decision to wear jeans and trainers on what was a scorching hot day!

Despite the heat, none of us fancied going straight home once our game had ended. Instead, we sat on the grass in the nearby park for a time. It was so nice to focus solely on Olivia and William and enjoy their company without other distractions.

Rascal Bay, mini golf

I’ve written before about how life moves pretty fast. Like Ferris Bueller says, if you don’t stop to look around once in a while you could miss it. I don’t want to miss it.

I do however, need to remind myself to slow down and switch off my autopilot more often.