January 10, 2012

Harnessing the memory machine.

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?

Join the conversation! 12 Comments

  1. I hear you Sarah! At least the fact that you have wonderful memories of childhood holidays is the proof that the illusion worked for you and will for your kids too! Have fun!

  2. Oh yes, I hear you too. But you won’t remember the snoring, snuffling or sealing. You’ll just remember the together time. Right? That’s what I tell myself.

  3. Memory is a beautiful thing! But I think you’re right in that the way we remember is really just a reminder that the things that bother us really aren’t that important after all. x

    • I laughed to myself for a wee while as I lied there listening to them all sleeping, snorting, shuffling and shushing each other. It reminded me of how lonely I was before they all came along and now I don’t have a moment to scratch myself (but me time is overrated anyways!). Congrats on the kidspot platform for gratefulness x

  4. My husband is the one who always wants to revisit places and i tell him you can’t go home again – the people, the place, everything will be slightly different. still – our holidays are as you described. Why is there always a snoring husband to the left?

  5. Memory making – it’s in our job description. 🙂

  6. Of course this piece made me giggle and cringe in equal measures with its realism.

    Here’s to many more days of happy memory making as the Summer & year unfolds!

  7. This is so true – my memories of our childhood holidays are of the magical times, not the lengths my mother used to have to go to to pack, clean, clean us, clean the place we stayed in. Thinking back, she didn’t really have much of a holiday, but I am grateful she helped us to create wonderful memories :o)


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