Updated: Jul 21, 2019
“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” Marcel Proust
There’s nothing quite like spending time with your family. Not the everyday time when you’re rushing from one thing to the next, talking in broken sentences, trying to get everything done but, even though I really dislike the term, quality time. Those hours where you can reconnect with each other, laugh over silly ‘in’ jokes, sit up late chatting, share a giggle whilst watching Monsters Inc for the 10th time, wake up each morning and ask “what shall we do today?” You guessed it….I’m on holidays!
Summer holidays….ahhhh. What a wonderful time. We have driven about three hours south of our home in Sydney to a coastal town called Shoalhaven Heads. The south coast of NSW is a very pretty place; lush green pastures, soft golden sand beaches with piercingly blue water and a laid-back, relaxed lifestyle. Mornings are spent sleeping in (the girls and hubby), meditating in the cool morning air (me), lots of cups of tea & reading (also me), before heading off for the day’s adventures after a quick breakfast.
Days melt away swimming, kayaking, rummaging through flea markets and quaint stores in tiny villages, foraging for dinner supplies and whatever else we feel like doing. Afternoons are more leisurely and as the clock slowly winds round to 4.30, it is aperitif time!! I had my first gin and tonic in ages the other afternoon, with a sliver of lime, and it immediately felt like summer.
As I write this, I am siping on an ice cold, crisp glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. I just adore daylight savings, where the sun doesn’t dip down below the horizon till well after 8pm. Those balmy summer nights, eating alfresco.
Tonight’s delectable dinner will be prawns (shrimp) trawled from the ocean this very morning, salami, fetta-stuffed bell peppers, an assortment of dips, crumbly cheese and crispy bread with a lovely glass of Italian Prosecco to wash it all down. This is the life! The holiday life.
My intention for 2015 is to have more quality time with those I love. Life is short. The good stuff shouldn’t just be saved for holidays.
As you know from my earlier posts, Simplicity is my ‘word’ for the year ahead. I seek to slow down and focus on the little things that so often get overlooked. It hit me quite suddenly that this year our lives would change in a big way.
My precious first-born daughter completed high school at the end of last year and 2015 will see her commence training for her ‘dream job’. You see she wants to become a pastry chef…she is already a seriously talented purveyor of sweet delicacies and I wait with bated breath to see the amazing desserts she will be able to create with formal training. She is due to commence her pastry apprenticeship in February with an amazingly talented chef whose artistry has to be seen to be believed. It will, however, see her driving to the other side of the city for 3 or 4am starts! Yes, you read that right…3 or 4am. Now that presents to us some major life changes. She will need to be in bed around 7pm each night which is the time I normally manage to rustle up some food and present it to the family as their evening meal after a day at work. It is my biggest fear that we will lose that family time and become ships that pass in the night. BUT I WON’T LET THAT HAPPEN!
We need to grab time with those we love and hold onto it for dear life. Maybe it will mean doing as the Italians do and have our main meal in the middle of the day on the weekends, before she heads to bed. Maybe it will mean trying to get away for overnight stays every now and then to spend uninterrupted time together. Maybe it will be pulling out a board game on her nights off and beating hubby at Pictionary! I don’t know exactly how we’ll do it but trust me, it will happen. My family is the most important thing in my life. Recently, friends of mine have lost two dear friends. Both were in their 40’s. Both were mums. Both were taken way too soon. How often do we put off doing things? Sometimes our kids come up to us right as we’re in the middle of something and if we say “let’s chat about that later”, we lose the magic of the moment. I intend to be more present this year. I don’t want to miss those moments.
I also intend to have more fun with my family. Markus Zusak , author of The Book Thief, said during his TED talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-_8QIdm4hA that “Teenagers have got a lot of soul that adults have forgotten they have within themselves.”
The other night after dinner we went for a walk by the water. In the adjacent grassed area an ‘outdoor gym’ was set up by the local council, complete with a kind of elliptical machine and various weight machines and parallel bars. It was more ‘big kids playground’ than gym but lets call it a gym. I giggled my head off as my husband and two teenage daughters jumped on the equipment (I would have jumped on too but my back is playing up so thought it best not to!), peals of laughter ringing through the night-time quiet. Our faces were all beaming as I snapped away on the camera, recording those moments for years down the track when my memory lets me down. I think my husband and I re-discovered that teenage soul that Markus was talking about. That playfulness. That spontaneous fun. And now that we’ve found it, we have to make sure that we don’t lose track of it again.