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Dad Blog: What a Year

A reflection on a rather chaotic year, from a Shanghai father's point of view

by Nick W | Mon, December 26, 2016

On the day of the U.S. election last month, I picked my daughter up from school as usual. You may wonder how I have time to make Parents & Kids magazine, handle our successful WeChat account (scan below!) and do more besides, but fortunately the magical writing and editing fairies just come in and do everything overnight. As if.


So, on the way home from school, I thought about telling my daughter something about what the rest of the world was doing. You know, to educate her, now 8-years-old, on a world event. But I quickly changed my mind.


While the rest of the world was wringing its hands and battling it out to make the most poignant WeChat post about the election, I decided that children should be saved from the historical tomfoolery of the adult world. Though I try and tell her a lot of real world truths, there was no need to explain something that should not matter in her world.


It had been a relatively stressful month anyway, though somewhat paradoxically so. With very short notice, our landlord had turfed us out as part of the relentless pursuit of the Shanghainese to sell their over-priced apartments. This had effectively rendered us homeless, though that's not as bad as it sounds. We were staying in a hotel for a week, which was quite a luxurious way to be homeless. But nonetheless, it added a layer of stress to work and school routines. The easy way to rationalise this was that it was a good experience for my kids.


It could be something to look back on as 'the funny time when we were living across three places at once.' And from my son's side, now 3, he was equally bursting with happiness all day, every day in any case.


From our 5 star homeless room, with Bund view, my kids could stand and watch the boats drift past, blissfully unaware of silly world events, unaware of the issues related to our residential puzzle and only needing to deal with daily enjoyment. Of all the different parts of adult life, the most important one is to be a good parent and, it's sometimes surprisingly easy. Looking back on this entire year, there are thousands of memorable family moments and it's those that I choose to dwell upon.


Instead of remembering the rush to pack 50 IKEA bags with all our worldly possessions in one day, I'll instead think back on receiving a spontaneous, hearty round of applause from my kids for doing an impression of a seahorse farting.