Last week we quit the rat race, loaded the girls, the swimming costumes, the bucket (sans spade because we couldn’t find it), and two tubs of Duplo into the boot of the car and headed for the beach. We got back yesterday, after a wonderful week of occasional sunshine and lots of surf and when I’ve waded through the 900 odd photos on the big camera I can promise to tell you lots lots more about it! But more than a beach holiday, this was a family holiday. We stayed in a flat overlooking the sea with Dad, my sister, and her family, and for all the surf and sandcastles, some of my very favourite moments were just hanging out at home; playing with my nephew, or watching his and Elma’s cautious interaction, overseen by a Kitty more than willing to chase after either of them with their left behind socks.
There were giggles for Uncle H pulling faces across the dinner table; Elma toddling around clutching her cousin’s Thomas the Tank Engine books, demanding a “tory” from anyone who looked like they might sit down for thirty seconds; Kitty curled up in her Grandpa’s lap listening to her favourite stories; the small nephew getting to grips with Duplo; and Kitty sitting up at the table to do a puzzle with her Auntie, colouring in each of the letters oh so carefully.
And then there was Henry.
Four people coming too and from the beach will generate a fair bit of sand, however carefully they dust their feet at the door, and then you add three children into the mix, and, well Elma at least is not a terribly tidy eater, so it wasn’t too long before we needed to befriend the hoover. And Kitty loved it. Every time Henry came out she wanted to be Grandpa’s best helper.
It became her job to turn him off and on, and while she’d pick things up out of the way for him, or hold the cable, mostly she wanted to be at the business end, scooping up every last toast crumb with her Grandpa.
And as well as the fact that I wasn’t the one doing the hoovering (which is in itself something worth celebrating occasionally), it was lovely watching them together, even doing something so mundane; you could tell how much fun Kit was having just out of being with her Grandpa, just as Elma’s face would light up when she heard him in the mornings and she’s go toddling off for a cuddle, or at least to stare at him and check he was really there!
Ordinary moments of domesticity, made special.