A couple of weekends ago, Laurence, Talitha and I spent a weekend in a caravan at Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parks*. It only struck us once we’d arrived that it was our second time away as a family, just the three of us. As soon as I mentioned it, I realised, it’s probably our last too. I’m not sure if bittersweet is quite the way to describe how I feel about that. Unquestionably, our feelings about welcoming a new baby into the family are not mixed. This is a longed-for child. Still, I find myself savouring the last months of life with just Talitha. I always say, she gets the benefit of our somewhat undivided attention. Our next child gets parents who know a bit more about what they’re doing.
You’d think that in over two years, you’d have found the time to do most of things that are less complicated with just one small child. Yet, I’ve hardly ever taken her swimming. She enjoyed the indoor swimming pool first thing both mornings at the park so much that I’ve promised myself to keep this going at home. And I will. The toddler pool was perfect for her as she could walk around then go into the “big pool” with floats to “swim”. For me, it was good exercise too. I used to be a keen swimmer and she was happy to hold on to my shoulders while I did a bit. *Looks up “tips for taking a toddler and newborn swimming”*
But we’re usually just the three of us. We don’t need a weekend break in Woolacombe to tell us that, surely? In a warm and cozy caravan, with lots of storage and all the bits and pieces we could want for comfort, we realised that getting away meant that we could just enjoy being. No cutting the grass or organising cupboards and because I’d cooked most of our meals in advance, no cooking even! We really could just be and not worry about something we should be doing. This seems obvious, I realise but I think we easily forget the stressful impact of background noise in our minds.
We fully embraced the holiday park thing. Talitha loved our wrist bands so much she didn’t want us to take them off for ages! Laurence finally got to introduce us to crazy golf onsite. Granted, Talitha didn’t really get it but she enjoyed reminding us which colour ball belonged to each of us. She seems to think golf should be played like snooker. This really is the perfect holiday for a family with small children. There’s a fantastic playground just behind our caravan and the beach an easy walk through the woods.
My parents are looking at these pictures now and thinking how strange it is to be wearing so many clothes on the beach. Tobago holidays of my childhood, this is not! But after living in England for over eight years, I’ve come to recognise that the British coast has a charm all its own. It’s lucky that I have since I’ve married a surfer! Talitha has the privilege of growing up knowing beaches on both sides of the pond. I’m certain she’ll love them both.
When it was time to leave, we regretted not having taken Monday off to enjoy another day in Woolacombe. Laurence noted that the tide or surf or waves or something (!) was supposed to be better on the Monday. Talitha probably wanted to build another sand castle. I hesitated to leave this last time away. As we did, I remembered that we have many firsts to come. Maybe we should go ahead and book our first holiday as a family of four to cure that bittersweet.
*We were given a three-night stay at Twitchen House in Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parks so that I could blog about it – a shame we could only stay for two!