Moving with the shifting sands of time
IF change is as good as a holiday then why do my family holidays invariably end up in the same place? If we go overseas, we go to New York. If we go to the beach, we go to Rosedale on the NSW south coast. If we go camping, we go to Treachery on the NSW north coast.
I would love to drive the Great Ocean Road or go to Spain or Broome, but I worry if my husband and I and two children did go on a different adventure and it didn’t work, then we wouldn’t have any happy family holiday memories. And I have trouble just getting the children out the door in the mornings for school, so I don’t need to trek through Nepal with them to experience a difficult situation. So how do we inject a little adventure into our family holidays without coming home in need of another one? By remembering that the saying ‘‘ From little things big things grow’’ has basis in fact. Taking the kids back to the same place year after year is like an annual reading of a growth chart that measures by experiences.
We’re planning our third family trip to New York in September and as much as we discuss which shows and exhibitions we will see, which new restaurants to visit (we can’t wait to try John McEnroe’s favourite Mexican restaurant, Rosa Mexicano, opposite the Lincoln Centre), we wonder how much the kids will have changed. Last visit, our son Monte rode the New York subway alone for the first time to hang out in Chinatown; he was nearly 15. Now he is 16 and is looking for a new milestone, preferably after dark.
Last time, daughter Lucy completed a full viewing of an exhibition at the Whitney, listening to a commentary through her headphones on the influence Picasso has had on American painters. She was nearly eight; now she is nine, we’ll take her to the Met.
If New York is the place we squish growth spurts into a two-week time frame, then Rosedale is like watching the sunrise on time-lapse. Nothing much changes except how you feel. Rosedale is one of those perfect Australian beachside towns that has neither a shop, service station, hotel nor motel within about 15km. It makes for a quiet escape and the beach shack we return to has been in my husband’s family for nearly 30 years. It has accommodated girlfriends, then welcomed them as wives; it’s seen babies come and, sadly, a baby go. It’s seen happy Christmases with everyone present and a sad Christmas with us all wondering why a marriage fails.
Rosedale is our sand through the hourglass, which makes Treachery a sandblast. Like the waves on the vast stretch that is well known as a surfer’s paradise, Treachery is rough and tough and the place to enjoy camping under a starlit canopy with saltwater skin and sun-kissed noses.
While there is nothing to entertain except an ocean of rockpools, a sand dune, sticks and those waves, days have passed at Treachery where we have been shocked to find it’s nearly dark and we can’t even remember eating breakfast. Sarah Bryden-Brown is editor of www.kidspot.com.au and the author of a family memoir, DadandMe (HarperCollins).