RAROTONGA MADE COLIN A BETTER MAN
One of my granddaughters mentioned the other day that she doesn’t want any more cousins, thank you very much. I won’t say which granddaughter it was in case some of her aunties want to have words with her, though it’s pretty easy to guess which one it was.
She’s not too keen on being just one in an ever-growing crowd, as a family the size of ours does what families our size do, which is to expand, though so far none of my kids seem to be setting out to have as big a bunch of kids as Daddy did.
That would be crazy because six times six would be 36 and if I end up with that many grandkids, they’ll need to wear name tags. But I’m sure we’ll deal with that problem if or when we get to it. Meantime, we all need to learn to live with family and its everwidening circle.
I’m still learning and I embrace every opportunity to do so. Just the other week, for instance, I seized the chance to run away to Rarotonga for what I might describe as a wider family experience. And I came home feeling – just slightly, mind – that I was a better man for the experience.
The darling wife and myself, with 18-year-old daughter in tow, took my mother-in-law along too for our six days of palm trees and lagoon and lounging about doing as little as possible.
I hadn’t been expecting the mother-in-law to be coming at first but that’s my doing because I only became involved in the invitation process quite late in the piece. It was suggested I might not have noticed the expanding guest list, though I think it’s unlikely I wouldn’t have noticed.
All I could recall of the Rarotonga project was that it started out as a romantic getaway. You know, just the two of us, though I might have imagined that bit. I’m really not sure any more. And anyway, once the daughter was added on, anything was possible and the addition of a mother-in-law mere steps away. A hundred or so.
But the island holiday went well overall, I’d say, even if there was a tendency to leave me home by the lagoon with Shirley (the mother-in-law) while the ever-energetic wife and daughter went off for long walks and cycling expeditions. But that was all right and, as mentioned, it offered numerous opportunities for further family bonding.
Which the two of us did, mainly later in the day over cocktails. Shirley’s a straight talker. She told me, over perhaps our second cocktail on the first day, she hadn’t been entirely sure I was quite the man for her beautiful daughter when I first turned up.
I imagined she’d brought this up because she’d changed her mind about me after more than 20 years, but I don’t recall that coming up in the conversation.
I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt – as she did me.
I always think that’s a good way to play it in the wider family situation, perhaps most especially on holiday.