Its Easter and the schools are off. My son celebrates each morning when he enquires, “Is school still cancelled”. Contentment spills across his face as I confirm this. He stretches and yawns enjoying this indulgence, before locating his pogo stick and springing to life. My daughter sleeps on truly enjoying this hiatus from routine. When she rises several hours later, around 7am, she too asks instantly “do I have wursery today?”
I adore this break too. The mornings are the most stressful part of the day as a mother, closely followed by the return home when my children and husband have apparently been starved all day and must EAT now. My son shrieks for a snack whilst trying to yank his school tie and head off. The Greek is a silent raging bull. Asking if I need any help, which in Greek means, “Hurry the FUCK up”. My daughter sits on the sofa with her jacket and shoes on and stares straight ahead shouting “Chicken, give me chicken!” on a loop. This scene is an oasis of calm compared to the morning show. I can remember my own mother dragging me out of bed and tearing a brush through my hair whilst I continued to sleep into my ricicles. I have the opposite problem now. By the time it is ready to depart, we have all been up for hours. My son always asks for a banana to take to the bus stop. My daughter confesses she cannot remember what she had for her starter. I sprint around in my jammies, tripping over the puppy, and excusing my existence to the Greek. Mornings are not for him. He is mute until noon. Coffee and his leprechaun mug are his only confidantes. I have grown to accept this and I smile benignly in his direction and stick my two fingers up whenever his back greets me.
Easter break is also a favourite for us as it means caravan. My children are well travelled, but Dunoon is their favourite destination. Our little bubble that exists out with reality, we pack a rucksack with the bare essentials, travel via Morrison’s to stock up on beers and tuna pasta and coorie doon. The four of us float about wearing mismatched socks and papas old t-shirts. We raid the charity shops for batman and my little pony treasures. We attend the bakers for cream puffs, and we throw our hairstyles to the wind, inviting birds to nest there. The kids shriek with delight when they find a dead crab on the beach. They are always solemn as we encase its carcass in a mussel shell, and send nothing but could wishes as we set it to sail on the sea. Being by the Scottish sea has the same effect on myself as melting Greece does on my Greek. I watch the waves and feel a sense of calm roll over my mind, pushing my usual bed fellow anxiety overboard, I truly feel content. I love the smell too. Different from the sunny Greek sea front, it reeks of seaweed and spoots. This beach expects nothing from me. I can wear my fleece, hat and wellies. There will be no 2-piece bikinis here.
We communicate better as a family here. We have long conversations over monopoly. We stroll like a human daisy chain through the trees, playing dead every so often to trick a bunny. Cilla the puppy is our newest recruit. She too has fallen into the caravan life. At home, she follows me everywhere. I no longer pee without an audience. When the kids are tucked up in bed, Cilla takes their place. Poking her nose around the toilet door and staring. She can hear the fridge open from a mile away, the dog who lives two doors down sneeze. At the caravan, she becomes Bob Marley. She lounges. The fridge opens; she looks up sometimes, but with no desire to move from the gas fire. I toddle to the toilet and nothing. I sit aghast in the cubicle and really enjoy my solo pee. When we go to the beach, she runs on an imaginary treadmill, back and forth, grinning from ear to ear, and shouting over to us, “Guys, this is the life”! I look at my Greek as he says, “it sure is”.
A wave crashes and the wonderful smell comes at us. I smile to myself as I watch his nostrils register this and I know what he will say next. “Babes, do you fancy mussels for dinner?”
“OK” Say I.
Happy Easter xxxx