The kids are having their first holiday at Nonna and Pop’s house. It sounds like it will be bulk fun: there’s been talk of going bowling, seeing a movie, going to the pub for dinner …
As I drove home on Sunday – with a pit stop for caffeine on the freeway to keep my eyes open, geez I need a holiday – I started reminiscing about all the awesome years at my grandparents’ house as a kid.
We spent every school holidays at Hawks Nest with my Nan and Pop. They were beautiful times.
Things I remember … making our own pastry and baking meat pies on dinner plates … the heart-attack-inducing slice she prepared every time we came to visit – biscuit base, caramel filling, Dessert Whip topping and sprinkles … posing for photographs in fields of her favourite flannel flowers … packing picnics of cold pie slices and heart-attack slice and wandering along Hawks Nest beach to the base of Mount Yacaba to hunt for cowrie shells in the rock pools … filling an old wash-tin with sand and salt water, then adding guppies and brightly clawed crabs caught among the mangroves on the riverfront … buying mullet and bream from a local fisherman, tossing them in flour and Season-All and frying them with hand-cut chips in well-used oil … growing peaches and plums and lemons and mangoes and mulberries in the backyard and eating them straight from the tree … exploring the mysterious and overgrown “fernery” down the side of her house … waking at dawn to swim in the Myall River during a chilly king tide … eating so many biscuits, heart-attack slice and potato chips that we’d get heartburn … watching so much TV our eyes went square … Nan buying us holiday pets – guinea pigs, ducklings that mysteriously grew into geese, cockatoos …
I could go on.
I might forget my closest friends’ names sometimes, but those memories never fade.
I want to give my kids those sort of magical memories. So we bake and breed tadpoles in jars and erect swing sets in bedrooms and pack picnics for bushwalks down to the waterfront near our house.
I don’t think I’ve nailed it quite as well as my Nan did, but I’m giving it a red-hot go.
I miss my Nan terribly. I miss the way she’d smile at me – a big grin with scrunched eyes and a wrinkled up nose. I miss calling her on Sunday mornings for a chat. I miss the way she’d answer the phone and say “Hello darlin’.”
I even miss how she’d ask every single time I visited if I would like a cup of coffee or tea, even though I never drank neither.
I wish I could boast to her about my kids’ latest achievements. I wish we could marvel together about what gorgeous, lovely kids they are.
I’ll never quite get my head around how someone you love so much can be gone forever.
That’s why I’m thrilled my kids are (finally) getting a week with their Nonna and Pop, even though I’ll miss them heaps.
Grandparents are very special people to have in your life.
Don’t you agree?
Song of the day: Barbra Streisand “Memory”