Tuesday, June 12, 2007
It's been hectic in the House of Jelly lately, and blogging fell by the wayside. Then Fatty and the kids and I went away for a few days, to take a break from headaches (both literal and figurative, both ours and others'!). We chose to go to the same beach spot we go to every summer, to try a winter escape.
The first couple of days were cold (not cold-if-you're-from-Alaska cold, but definitely cold-if-you're-in-a-bikini cold). I wondered if perhaps the weekend would be disastrous, with children bored and mutinous and Fatty sighing over the cryptic crossword, having done all the suduko and regular crosswords to be found. After all, what do you do at the beach when you can't swim in the surf or loll about on the sand?
-walk along the sand dunes, slowly (because the kids keep stopping to make imaginary castles from bits of shell and weed and scraps of plastic)
-put together a large jigsaw puzzle, with everyone helping, elbowing each other good-naturedly
-eat ice-cream (OK so this one seems a bit odd, but trust me we all found it to be a pivotal part of the holiday, cold weather and all)
-read fat novels (Fatty was reading a Bill Bryson book about Bryson's travels in Australia, and couldn't stop giggling. It was most disconcerting - Fatty chortling is a rare sound! -but it lifted my spirits to hear Fatty hysterical with laughter. I think he really needed to go to a unit at the beach and read silly books)
-take the path along the headlands, spotting fifty or more dolphins in the sea down below
-gaze out to sea until, heart thumping with happiness, you see a humpback whale wave hello with a huge dark flipper
-go out to dinner on the coldest night of the stay, shiver your way through the meal (alfresco dining in winter - what a crock!), then run home along the footpath, all somehow ending up holding hands, with Ben shouting 'Don't go too fast! Wait for me! I'm the runt of the family!', and the rest of us laughing at Ben and shuddering in the wind and me thinking I'll always remember this moment.
Our last day, the sun came out and the wind died away and it was balmy. We swam and jumped waves and the kids boogie-boarded in the shallows. And while that was a delight, I knew that we would have had fun even if the weather had remained steadfastly frigid.
Although my childhood was by no means awful, it was, for a number of reasons, nothing like the childhood that my own children are experiencing. Family holidays were rare. Family outings were not relaxing, for one reason or another. Many factors were beyond my parents' control. My point is simply this - I am glad to be able to create joyful memories with my children that I believe they will treasure. I want to remember it all, too, but failing that, I will write down here what I most want to recall forever.
'Sweet dreams are made of this'
(Eurythmics, 'Sweet Dreams')