It’s almost over.
Soon the shackles of responsibility will anchor me back in the Outpost and all that will remain of three weeks away will be peeling shoulders and the smell of salt and sea that linger for a while somewhere in the dark recess of a suitcase.
I wish. I wish that I could harness the memories, of long drives and laughter and raucous card games and heated family debate, of snorkeling with my daughter to spot sea anemones which deliver softly suckered kisses to finger tips, blossoming in the depths and festooned with a flotilla of clown fish; of close-up knees-touching, shared mugs of tea with my son; of Hat’s jostling for space and voice as she pitches herself against bigger, louder siblings. Of haggling with fishermen and subsequent deliciously too-late, too-long fish and chip lunches doused in lime and tomato sauce; of sunbaked, salt-slaked skin and a mind that is suddenly soothed.
I wish. I wish that I could distill all of that and bottle it and draw it out and inhale deeply on the scent or dab it on my wrists so that the memories might sustain through lonelier days.
I said to Husband as we drove back from a night of pizza and wine and political argument so that I was left light headed with the euphoria of being out-talked by my older children who winded me with their considered, articulate opinions – sometimes being a mother takes your breath clean away – I said, ‘I am happy: this is the best holiday’.
Because soon fullfatfivefamily holidays will be rare, because children grow up and spread wings and take flight to different destinations. And then you need to breathe deep and look at the pictures and smile wide.