32 Reasons to Celebrate: Family

Working from home with her husband and their three kids under 5, our Philanthropy and Development Director Miranda Davis has conducted a thorough examination of all the things she has newfound appreciation for… Certainly seems like there’ll be plenty of good things to be taken away from this COVID-19 period. Here’s the full list:

  1. Getting creative:
    Kids constantly stimulate the imagination and with no swimming or ballet lessons, playgroups or playdates there is a lot more time in the day to play – and the days are long!  We decided early on to have theme days – favourites so far have been pirate day, elephant day and Frozen day.  It’s amazing to see how creative the kids can get and how much they want to learn.
  2. Branching out: Posh Eats
    My husband works in food publishing and is taking advantage of the current situation (we do not get to spend many evenings out) supporting local businesses by getting take home menus from some of Sydney’s finest.  Our firm favourite is Saint Peter in Paddington and their amazing Friday night fish pies.
  3. New Co-workers
    They may not be getting paid, but having the family at home really changes the mindset. It can be challenging (to say the least) but I am very grateful to have this energetic young team behind me.
  4. Noise-cancelling headphones
  5. Everyone else having time to bake!
    My sisters-in-law both live nearby and have been making the most of their lockdown time by honing their baking skills. We have been chief testers – a tough job, but someone has to do it.
  6. Spending time getting to know The Sydney’s newest family members: the 32 Competitors
    This unexpected time has given me a chance to learn a little more about some of our newest competitors who I hope to meet next year (including, most importantly, making sure I can pronounce names correctly!).
  7. Having time to catch up with family back home in England
    It’s a good time difference for us at the moment and as my (usually very active and social) mum is on lockdown in the UK we can actually catch each other when kids are asleep and she is home for a proper chat.
  8. Getting back onto social media and the online Arts community
    The amount of creative content online has been astounding and it is amazing to see the Arts community rise to the challenge and keep coming up with new ways to connect with audiences.
  9. Wine
    We have enjoyed some lovely bottles, including some from The Sydney sponsors Carillion, each of which has done its bit in helping to take the edge off life in a small house with three children under four.
  10. Almost becoming Australian
    My citizenship test may have been postponed but the last month has been both a great opportunity to brush up on my Aussie skills and get a true education in State versus Federal government.
  11. Appreciating my local community
    The locals in our area have been placing teddy bears in the windows for children to spot on their walks. It’s such a small thing, but it has made the walks around our neighbourhood into a bit of adventure, which the kids have loved.
  12. The support of The Sydney Donor family
    Postponing the competition was a leap into the unknown, but the steadfast support of our donors and ticket buyers has been both incredibly important and motivating.
  13. Veg Box deliveries
  14. Playing my part in the global community
    There is something very humbling in knowing that people all across the world are socially isolating for the benefit of others, and that we are playing a small part in that.
  15. Having a new sounding board
    Yes, a large number of their ideas could be considered to be ‘left-of-centre’, but my family have certainly come up with some interesting feedback on my every-day work conundrums.
  16. Learning new skills
    I didn’t realise quite how behind the times I was. I had never before used either a Zoom meeting or a Google hangout, and had never heard of Houseparty (even Kate Middleton uses it, apparently).  Now I can add these skills to my CV.
  17. Finally sorting out the cupboard under the stairs
    It has become a treasure trove of family memorabilia.
  18. The Sydney team
    It has been incredible to witness the strength of the small team at The Sydney, who have remained positive and creative during these challenging times: presenting ideas for exciting upcoming digital events and using this delay as an opportunity to showcase to you our 32 incredibly talented young competitors. Our weekly team Zoom meetings are a definite highlight.
  19. My new work soundtrack
    Family means noise, so through those noise-cancelling headphones I’ve been listening to the Spotify playlists of the 2020 prescribed repertoire. I am especially enjoying Andrey Gugnins’ performances of the Liszt.
  20. Netflix
  21. Lunchtimes at home
    Nothing gives you more of a break from your screen and work than walking downstairs to eat with three noisy kids.
  22. Catching up with The Sydney family and everyone having the time to have a chat
    One of the great joys of being a fundraiser is chatting to many different people – with many different areas of expertise – who all share a common passion. I learn so much from our donors and this time has been a great example of that. From factories to farms to lungs, The Sydney donor family is a fountain of knowledge.
  23. Appreciating my local area
    Being able to walk out and see the sea and the amazing Australian sky makes staying indoors that little more bearable.
  24. Bedtime (and always being home for it)
  25. Finally having something to make small talk about that isn’t the weather
  26.  Enjoying Friday afternoons with your feet in the paddling pool
  27. Time
    There is never enough of it, until now.  Though postponing the Competition has stopped our momentum for July in its tracks, we have the luxury of more time to make sure that 2021 is going to be seamless.
  28. Online shopping
  29. Honing my crafting skills
    To be honest, I’m not sure how these skills will be used in The Sydney 2021, but I can now man a glue gun and papier mâché with the best of them. Should any technical help be needed, I am ready to step in.
  30. Putting together new ‘events’ for The Sydney’s family
    Yes, we cannot sit in a concert hall and enjoy a concert together but there are ways we will continue to bring the music to The Sydney family which will join us together with digital events. (Watch this space!)
  31. Embracing flexibility
    I am a creature of habit and plans so this time has been challenging but being forced to remain flexible in work and life has shown me a new way of being, and its not all bad.
  32. Knowing that this too will pass
Read more about The Sydney‘s original 32 reasons to celebrate here, as we introduce you to our 32 competitors for the 12th competition. #32ReasonstoCelebrate

Image: “The Scream” (My Family I), 2020. By Silvia Davis, (Age 4). Colour texta on paper. Reproduced by permission of Davis Galleries.