After the loss of my mother, last year, I realized I needed to organize regular, quality-length time for my younger two boys with their grandfather.
Time is short, and we need to make the most of the opportunity, while dad’s still alive, for him to get to know them, and for the kids to get to know their grandfather. This is a chance to deepen those precious relationships.
To this end, I arranged with my brother, we would bring our boys to visit dad in every holiday break. Our boys could then maintain their relationships with one another, as well. Five or so times, my brother and I have travelled from opposite ends of the country, to bring our kids together with their grandfather. And, it’s turning into a lovely tradition.
These holidays, we headed down to visit my father in the Coromandel, despite the dire forecast of thunderstorms, heavy rain and 110 knot winds. Yet, I’d checked the road conditions, and I knew all the roads were still open.
We didn’t want to miss out on time with dad, and we had also arranged a charter fishing trip on a boat for the boys.
It rained on and off most days. However, the storm passed us by without even touching us.
The kids weren’t worried and they just got on and enjoyed themselves.
They reminded me how to look at the bright side. When it rained, they played indoors, when the sun came out, they raced outside again. Sometimes, they went out, rain or no!
The very first day, our combined trio of boys made friends with the local kids. The gang was inseparable from then on.
I was reminded of how well kids make friends. They see others their size-ish and they gravitate towards one another. It seems all it takes is a look. Then, they play together and are instantly bonded. No questions asked.
What a pity we can’t put all the kids in charge of the world, huh?
Dad, my brother and I took turns keeping an eye on what was going on with this new tribe.
The kids would come from the houses which face down onto a reserve, and gather on the communal grassed playing area and playground below Grandpa’s house.
They played together with great gusto and spirit. They played most of the time. The digital games and phones lay indoors, forgotten.
I love that about going away for the holidays – the strictures of city life fall away. People and shared experiences become more important.
When we weren’t out with the boys ourselves, I’d often be indoors, watching with the binoculars. Sometimes the kids were playing soccer, or ball tiggy, or softball. Sometimes they were on the swings and slides in the playground. You could hear the shrieks of laughter and hoots.
Sometimes, mysteriously, they camped for long periods, the whole tribe sitting and talking beneath a tree or in the shade of the climbing wall.
It seemed never a cross word passed between them.
There were no falling-outs. Throughout our stay, they gathered to play and traipsed back and forth as a gang. At meal times, the crew dispersed. A preternatural quiet would descend.
Yet, I noticed, all it took was for one of them to appear on the reserve or in the playground, and in a very short time; they’d have rejoined forces. The whoops and voices would ring again. The kids seemed like magnets for each other.
Our boys’ new mates even accompanied us on a family walk to the peak behind my father’s house.
Meantime, because of the weather warnings, the fishing charter was cancelled.
Not to be put off, we rearranged it with the skipper, for the following day.
Luckily, the weather improved enough for the fishing trip to kick off, as planned.
The boys were thrilled. My youngest called it ‘a big adventure,’ being a night trip. The boat was due to leave harbour at 5 p.m. and return at ten in the evening.
Though they did encounter a rough off-shore wind that night, the trip was a success and, they each managed to catch some fish. Whew!
Being my son’s first proper trip, I was relieved to hear, upon their return, he’d caught ‘the first and biggest fish.’ Keeping everything on an even keel, my nephew then outdid him by landing an even bigger snapper.
Both boys came home exhausted, proud warriors. It was lovely. You never know, we may have new fishermen in the family.
It was a fitting end to the trip. For dinner, I had fresh snapper fried with a little pepper, salt and olive oil, eaten with a simple green salad tossed with avocado. Perfect.
I consider this holiday to have been a lesson in how a shining attitude (as demonstrated so ably by the boys), can transform a sodden four days, into a fun-filled adventure to be remembered forever.
How awesome is that?
I nominate children to rule the world!
Remember, whenever you reach the lip of a steep slope, (this sign graces the reserve near my dad’s house)… Please run down the hill screaming! (by Order of Life’s Too Short).
Talk to you later,
Yvette K. Carol
Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted. ~ John Lennon
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