All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
Life was beautiful then
By Andrew Lloyd Webber
Well. I’ve just farewelled the last of our January guests – 3 lads ranging from ‘c’mon Bec – I’m almost 12’, to 14, to 16. In the past 3 weeks, we’ve had four nephews, one niece, eight adults, their intermittent children, and a dog. OK – there was no dog. And then there were the catch-ups with friends passing through.
You see, January is peak season for us. When everyone else is kicking back, drink in one hand, book in the other, I can generally be found at home washing sheets and making beds, (if I haven’t got you to make it yourself). At this point I need to hurriedly add – I LOVE January, and I love our guests. I feel very honoured that people make time in their limited days off to stop in and catch up, because let’s face it, the year passes all too quickly and I am not one for regular phone catch-ups (as soon as I so much as picture the phone in my head, a child cries. Amazing – so telepathic!)
Fortunately for us, the mid north coast is an incredibly handy place to live. Not far off the beaten track, it’s off the main highway of Australia, a mere 3 1/2hrs from Sydney, so people are always either heading north or south or simply to the beach – and why wouldn’t you? Our beaches are amazing. Even when I drive into Forster and get stuck in the annual ‘summer holiday’ traffic jam over the bridge (the population doubles – or more – in summer), I can still admire the incredible sparkling aqua blue of the water and be grateful this is almost ‘my town’.
So when friends or family think of stopping in, I embrace it. Bring it on. Hopefully It’s helpful for them, but it’s lovely for us, coaxing us out of our daily grind of chores and work so we can relax and enjoy friends and home (which is hopefully cleaner, for a day at least, than it has been for months).
So why then, if those guests are children, do I feel the need for them to be doing something constructive? And why do they have to engaged in an activity outside for me to think they are having a good time?
You can perhaps sense that the recent ‘nephews’ visit has brought forth some serious generational navel gazing. And I’ve thought long and hard about the hypocrisy of my frustration from their texting, social media-ing, and gaming. And I have come to this conclusion:
“If an adult was doing it too (but they wouldn’t) I’d still be frustrated. Because what’s the point in coming to the farm, if you’re just going to sit there and think of other places and other people? How can you have happy memories if you’re not making any? And how are you going to be able to make your life more interesting than everyone else’s you’re so interested in reading about, if you’re just sitting there, not even reading a book?”
Whoa, I’m really sounding my age now aren’t I?!! Ah well, on the cusp of turning 40, why fight it? You see, I have wonderful – WONDERFUL – memories of my childhood holidays, both at my aunty and uncle’s farm, and by the sea. Yes, we sat around a lot, but we were talking, playing games, reading. When we weren’t doing that, we were having little adventures, like when my bro learnt to ride a motorbike but forgot to ask how to stop; or when our make-shift boat made from the dirty lid of a skip sunk in the middle of the duck-poo infested dam; or when we all learnt how to knit coathanger covers (Mike, hope you’ve found that skill incredibly useful in your adult life)…Oh, and did I mention I walked to school in barefeet? (no, not really. Just thought I’d really get into the generational whinge).
Ah the memories… Little did we know it, but we were embracing the moment and making memories that now, as an adult, I can reflect upon with much gratitude.
So last week I found myself intermittently dragging my nephews off their bums into the great outdoors, and if they couldn’t find a way to entertain themselves (“I’m booooored!”), then I – rightly or wrongly – gave them a manual job to do. I’m not sure that I was giving them a great memory, or sadly, even a good one, but at least it was a memory of some kind.
So to finish off, in the closing words of Andrew Lloyd Webber:
“…When the dawn comes
Tonight will be a memory too
And a new day will begin”
And now, for a quiet moment of reflection for the 80s (thankyou Andrew Lloyd Webber)… before we welcome 2013. Happy memory making everyone…!