Today my daughter turned 21! A beautiful milestone and a day to be celebrated. So with a party happening soon, I asked my daughter what would she like to do on her actual birthday, just the two of us. But she didn’t answer with go shopping, go out somewhere for lunch or anything terribly indulgent. What she wanted and needed was to jump in the car and head to a favourite family holiday spot, a beach town that we’ve been going to every year since she was born (and before).
Many happy holidays have been spent here, from playing on the swings at the beach to feeding ducks in the local park, riding a tourist train to getting buried in the sand.
There have been many laughs over the years as we’ve spent holidays here with family and friends and our children have grown up together. They’ve learnt to swim, learnt to drive, turned old enough to buy their parents a drink at the hotel and still look forward to going every year.
We’ve seen whales, dolphin and seals in the waters, stayed through storms with lightning and pelting rain and had beautiful hot sunny days, body surfing and getting dumped by waves. We sometimes stay in holiday houses or in the best spot in town, the caravan park, right on the beach.
But one of the most enduring memories for our children was a ritual which started innocently enough in that we would go for a walk as it was getting close to sunset on one day of the holiday and perch ourselves on rocks overlooking the water to get the best view. Of course a block of chocolate would be taken too and we’d watch the sun go down and munch on the delicious choccy goodness. That became known in our family as chocolate rock.
That is exactly where my daughter wanted to be today. Now a photographer by profession, she wanted nothing more for her birthday than to go to chocolate rock and take some photos on a glorious warm and sunny day.
Places like these annual family holiday destinations bring so much joy and happy memories that its no wonder they get in your blood and for our children, so much so, that birthdays or special occasions are marked by visiting them again, even if for just a day. Then feeling renewed and complete we can carry on until these special places call us again.
So enjoy making memories with your children, one day you’ll be pushing them on a swing and before you know it they will be turning 21 and with any luck they will have a place that means so much to them too.