Friday, August 10, 2012

from the south coast: are we there yet?

We've just returned from a week on the south coast; the beautiful land where green rugged hills meet the ocean. Quite strange to stand on a windswept beach and have cows grazing behind you. 

In the days before we left home I wrote list after list. As I went about washing, gathering, packing and checking I couldn't help thinking about the work of the muma before a holiday. I began to reminisce about the times, as a child, where my brother and I would sit in the packed-to-the-roof Datsun and wonder what on earth our parents were doing. "Can't we just go..." we'd moan. 

If I could, I would tell my ten-year-old self that mum was:

  • doing a final check of every room to make sure the necessities were packed
  • adding an extra this and that for every family member - just in case
  • doing a quick tidy-up of the house (there's nothing worse than coming home to mess)
  • washing the last of the breakfast dishes
  • watering the plants
  • making sure there were enough snacks for the trip
  • filling up water bottles
  • checking the supplies in the first-aid kit
  • grabbing the ice-cream container and a few towels (we were carsick kids)
  • packing the half-full bottle of milk, the butter and the fruit that was about to turn (no waste in our household)
  • reminding our neighbours to collect the mail and put our bins out

...and dad? He was closing all the windows, setting the timer on the lights, loading the esky, unplugging the appliances and checking that the chooks had enough food and water.

Now I know exactly how mum was feeling when she would lock the door and get in the car, completely exhausted and absolutely ready for a holiday. After she asked us if we needed to go to the toilet she'd declare it time to go and with the windows rolled down we'd settle in for the drive north.

And I would try my hardest not to ask the dreaded question...

"Are we there yet?"

We found four ViewMasters and a collection of slides in an op-shop for $2. The perfect holiday entertainment that sparked oh so many childhood memories.

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