Yesterday I found myself sitting on the beach in the glorious winter sun on a Sunday afternoon. Grace and a friend were playing happily in the shallows while Albi tried time and time again, in vain, to join in the fun. I almost had a snooze it was that peaceful, but Albi flinging a wet sandy towel around like a giant whip soon put that idea to bed. (see what I did there. Snooze / bed. Yep, funny shit)
It was one of those days that validated my decision to move to the northern rivers of NSW.
Sun. Surf. Sand. Smiles.
It would have been relatively easy to palm the kids off for play dates, or even easier to stick them in front of the TV, while I got stuck into all those mundane things to do around the house that never seem to bloody end. (I’m pretty sure the kids put clean clothes in the dirty pile just to ensure I have to wash at least 3 times a week)
I pretty much yelled, cursed and dragged them into the car just to get there.
So why bother at all you ask?
Because it’s something Renee would have done. A picnic no less, made by the girls and complete with apple pies and custard for dessert. (the kitchen was all but destroyed in the process but it meant I didn’t have to think about lunch and they’d be forced to eat their own creations)
Yes indeedy, we had ourselves a bonefide, ridgy-didge “family day”. Insert Renee into the picture and we would have been that sickly-sweet-perfect family that makes everyone else at the park feel dysfunctional.
I’m not going to lie, it really was a lovely day. It’s just not something that I would have planned. In fact it was Grace’s idea to start with, but one I had to push (hard – see above mention of cursing) through, 3hrs later after kitchen-ageddon had ended.
You see, one of the only upsides to being a single Dad is that you get to do everything YOU choose. No arguments, no making concessions, no trade-offs. Think no shopping centre days, no visiting those “sort-of-friends” just to repay an earlier visit, no painfully boring Sunday drives to nowhere. Awesome hey! Well this does, however, have a nasty flipside – YOU also have to think up, decide on, and do….everything.
This means that I tend not to readily propose such things as a family picnic. They’re just not on my bucket list I’m afraid. Sort of like going to the dentist. (mental note: must book in Albi for his first ever dental check up)
But doing “the family thing” I realise, is important.
It’s important that the kids develop, and I foster, that deep bond with each other, and me, that occurs when spending time doing things together as a core unit / family. Going places, having experiences, creating memories, together.
Because if there is one thing I have learnt in losing my beloved; the only thing you have, when all is said and done, is memories. And the most special and important of these should come from the love of, and for, family.
So with only the barest of grumbles, I will, periodically, plan more of these family days. For the love and connection with my children and in Renee’s spirit.
So that was my epiphany on a glorious winter’s Sunday in the Bay. Family shit needs to be right up there with a glass of wine while cooking. Priority one.
And as if to mock my deep philosophical musings, I’ll have to sign off. The kids sound like they are about to murder each other. Again.
Adios and happy familying to you 🙂