After the fluster of Christmas, we love to head to the beach in droves.
The car is packed to the interior light with kneeboards, cricket bat and stumps, the totem tennis pole and the volleyball net. There are eskies and suitcases, swags and sleeping bags, groceries and piles of towels. The kids can barely squeeze in as well. Mum is at the wheel and looking harassed already. Dad is to follow in the tray top with the bikes and barbeque.
When I was a kid, Mum would rent a shack at the beach for one or two weeks in January. Dad would drive us to Beachport, Portland or Victor Harbor, stay overnight and then return home, as he was not keen to be away from the farm during the bushfire season.
We would roam the beach and sand dunes, gather fronds from Norfolk Island pines to place as crowning pieces to our sandcastles and look for ships on the horizon. We’d amble along with Mum and the umbrella for the morning beach session, return home for lunch and then back to the beach again. It is my only memory of Mum not being constantly busy. She still cooked all our meals and did the washing but it afforded her time sitting on the sand with the only responsibility being to keep an eye on her four kids.
The caravan park holiday often affords families who live in the same country town the opportunity to move to the closest beach town and camp in even closer living proximity with all the same people they see all year round. This allows all to hear the domestic arguments and to gauge the parenting skills of others at very close range. The caravan park chortles with the calls of children, joint cricket matches in the evening, the laughter of adults at the barbeque and the gossip in the laundry.
Lying on the beach watching the kids and grandkids frolic in the waves, you will have time to reflect, review and look forward. Maybe you can contemplate your New Year resolutions and, more importantly, how you can enact them on a daily basis. Or you may just bliss out listening to the rhythm of the waves rolling and stare mesmerized at the horizon.
All this will, no doubt, be followed by an evening stroll and ice-creams all round.