Every year my husband and I and the kids head here. Its an annual thing and its something that he has done every year since he was a kid too. I always remember Mia Freedman when she said that holidays with kids was really just moving the kids to another location without the usual props to entertain them. This year was no different, we almost had to leave a child behind with the amount of stuff we had crammed into the car.
Going to a place you went to as a child inevitably increases the stress to recreate the memories you had for your own offspring (or step-offspring). To visit the same holiday spots, the same twee amusement parks all with that rose-coloured glass nostalgia that makes you forget about vomiting after your first ride on the pirate ship or the sunburn that was so bad you had to shove cotton wool under the straps of your swimmers to relieve the pressure. I think its safe to say there is a space between the truth and what you really want the truth to look like.
On our way up the coast we stopped for the night at a place we’d been to for the last few years. The kids had scattered memories of it and most remembering revolved around the breakfast buffet and a dodgy pancake machine. I actually wrote this post in my head during that overnight stay – it was 313am and I was lying awake with a sniffing child to the right of me, a snoring husband to the left, an even smaller child in a port-a-cot directly next to the bed who was doing seal impersonations in his sleeping bag all night and two stepdaughters sleeping on the foldout lounge whispering louder than their actual voices are….its at this point that I wanted to yell ‘ARE WE HAVING FUN YET?’. But what stopped me from losing it was the need to harness the memory machine, to not sweat the small stuff so that in two decades time my son can turn to me, grateful for the memories we created, and say ‘remember that place we went to where we all slept together, ate pancakes and had a great time’.
And I’ll smile serenely and say ‘of course I do, that was the best holiday ever’.
How are your holidays going? Are we having fun yet?