It’s family holiday time and no, I never did manage to lose the three kilos I needed to semi-confidently wear my swimsuit in public.
I wish I could savour this feeling of excitement and anticipation that I always experience in the weeks leading up to a holiday; that is, before we go. Before I remember the realities, memories of which tend to become distorted with time, rather like childbirth.
Can I seriously have forgotten about the arguments over which bedroom each of the kids want, which restaurant or beach to go to or why they have to wear sun screen? Or that the novelty of the beach wears off with my kids, usually after the first two hours?
Embarrassing first world problems, I know, but family holidays can be an endurance to match any test seen on those crazy Japanese shows when the modern family of privilege is forced to live amiably together without the luxuries and devices that make that sort of possible on home turf.
Kurt is obviously appalled that he has been forced to holiday with his parents when NONE of his friends have to. But obviously we couldn’t leave him at home; not if we wanted a home to come back to.
Getting Kurt to the beach is always the biggest trial. Not that I’m going to force the issue this year – I’m not that stoic. I know I should just let him wallow in his holiday room feeling sorry for himself in his translucent Twilight skin that hasn’t seen a ray of sunlight in the last three years; hating us.
Kurt cannot tolerate sand, freaks out if seaweed touches his skin and is terrified of sharks. He has a point, but none of those things are exactly optional on a beach holiday in Australia. He also hates sitting in wet swimmers for prolonged periods of time – something he has found problematic since he was a little boy. At least watching him change angrily behind a towel, rubbing furiously at every grain of sand that dares enter the orifices of his body, provides the family with some entertainment.
The Astronaut is accompanying NC to provide us with some additional light relief this year (!) NC’s boyfriend is the finest example of everything our son is not. Academic, responsible, he could be straight out of The Big Bang Theory, and he will no doubt have us knocking back nightly Heston Blumenthal-style experimental cocktails in between testing us on science trivia that the old man and I have zero hope of answering.
To be honest, with NC and The Astronaut in our group, the best part about this holiday is that we are actually going away with responsible people – our surrogate parents.
One of the few benefits of the circle of life is that ultimately the kids have to look after us.
NC and The Astronaut are far more responsible than either the old man or I could ever hope to be. NC is the kind of daughter you want to get dementia with just to test her, because you know she’ll take the responsibility seriously; whereas I’m seriously beginning to worry about how often the word ‘euthanasia’ comes up on Kurt’s search history.
Even more fortuitously, as NC is still a student and The Astronaut a newbie graduate employee, they are also very poor. Which means that unlike Kurt, they should be grateful that we continue to take them away on our precious family holiday. And to enable them to fully demonstrate their gratitude, we may bribe them to take on the role of Kurt’s parents on this trip, too.