Holidays – for fun and firsts

Unlike my children, whose lives and milestones have been documented in video clips and picture files, the pictorial record of my childhood fits into a couple of chocolate boxes. Looking through those photos, you’d mistakenly think we were constantly on holiday as most of the snaps are of me with my parents and three sisters on various beaches, straddling canons by historical houses or tucking in to fantastic spreads set out on a red tartan picnic rug. Bad perms, sun burns and ra-ra skirts make unwelcome appearances.

Can you spot me*?
Can you spot me*?

My uncle was a headmaster of a boys school so we’d borrow his apple green Honda minibus and bags our seats hoping for windows, then negotiate with the adults for time slots to listen to our music choices on the radio stations and tape deck. Think the Partridge family and you are not far off.

I fondly recall football tournaments on silver strands, running up and down sand dunes and coconut oil bastings as we competed for the best tan.

We only had a week and so much to cram in to it.  I remember the excitement as we’d arrive at our destination, be it a hotel suite or a house rental. We’d sprint to our room, siblings jostling to find the best bed, the one furthest from our parents so late night banter might happen uninterrupted. At night we’d sit in the hotel lobby as my mother took a deck of cards from her handbag and we’d play Twenty Five and Beggar-My-Neighbour with pennies in the pot while my dad got us lemonades from the bar.

I had a lot of firsts on family holidays. I learnt to swim in a seawater stone-enclosed pool. I had my first dingy lesson on a calm Atlantic. I tasted lobster in a harbour pub close to where the  crustacean met its end.  And I had my first kiss at age 14 from Kevin, the boy from the suite next door. After asking me if I wore a bra, I said no – a late developer I didn’t need to – he said no matter and planted a smacker.

We had a frail grandmother living with us so getting away wasn’t easy but my parents somehow managed and for at least one week a year we got to be carefree and playful.  My mother would say “The family that plays together, stays together”.

Holidays have always mattered to me. Then and since.

My husband’s daily commute from central London means he doesn’t get home to us until bedtime so holidays provide precious opportunities for long stretches of quality time together.  Amber (age 9 ) is a beach scavenger and whatever the weather will happily spend hours combing the strand for sticks, stones,even garbage to embellish the  sand sculptors that herself and her dad have built.

beach 5

On holidays he gets to race them in the pool and play bucking bronco. I’ll hear squeals and laughter as they slide off his back and topple into the water. Splash!  He’ll somehow find the stamina to “play tennis” with the 6 year old. Sawyer serves and his daddy fetches. Our kids might broker a friendship in the pool with other children and we’ll find ourselves tennis opponents on the strength of it.

photo (7)

Or the three of them will leave me on a sun lounger with my book while they explore. If I’m lucky they might return with a chilled soda.  My daughter might stay behind with me, busily adding entries in to her journal. The girl is surely on track for a career in forensics or espionage  with the level of detail she provides. Two pages on waking up, dressing and visiting the breakfast bar.

So what I want for our holiday is time together, in a picturesque location (because there will be lots of pictures taken) where we get to have fun and experience firsts.  That could be in the sun – windsurfing (that’s a first right there) or in the snow as first timers at ski school. I want my children to have a well of wonderful holiday stories and conquests to regale their children with.  “Once upon a time on a Mark Warner holiday…”   I’ll be sure to remember to pack my deck of playing cards.

{*that’s me second from the left}.

This post is an entry for a competition to find #Markwarnermum  (and dad) bloggers. 

To further demonstrate my versatility….

As a mark warner mum, should I get chosen
we’ll jet off to places ski-tastic when frozen

Or maybe we’ll go to sun-lit adventure
It’s all set out in the terms of indenture

Wherever we‘re sent, one things for sure
Our account will read better than any brochure.

And show that I’m not the only one who will be taking notes…..

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