Vision vs Reality: Holidays with kids

This afternoon while walking my pooch Cheef Dog, I witnessed a hero.

This man was reversing his Nissan Patrol complete with trailer and massive boat into his garage off a main road.

Not only was he owning this stressful situation, he was using all four of his reversing mirrors while his two dogs barked and scratched at the fence, his reverse beeper sound went off every half second, traffic had come to a standstill, a cyclist leaned on his bike obstructed by the trailer, and here I was standing there awkwardly while my dog ran his bum along the patch of turf and bindis on the nature strip, watching in awe. And during this whole time, the man’s wife was shouting directions from the rear of the garage.

“Straighten her up, ya trombone.”
“No the other right, ya peanut.”
“Use your mirrors.”
“Do you want me to do it? I’ve got to get dinner on.”
“Just leave it there and fix it in the morning.”
“I’ve got to call nan.”
“To your left, left, LEFT. Oh no, your right”

And so on. Then he parked the boat trailer.

Then the man got out of the car, went and checked it’s position and said to me: “She’s not perfect, but she’s straight enough.”

I didn’t know if he was talking about his boat or his wife.

Either way, it got me to thinking about the short little holiday my son and I went on over the weekend. Holidays with kids, they’re never really holidays are they?

Here’s my weekend in a chart:

Taking my son to see a lighthouse. Together we would hold hands and experience the nostalgia of an iconic historical architectural emblem. We would take a picture perfect selfie and ride our bikes slowly back down the hill and stop by the ice cream parlour on the way home for a treat.

We arrive at the beach house we are staying at, which is STUNNING. My son notices the TV and says “Turn it on mum” (note the absence of manners). I tell him “no, we are going to see the lighthouse, hop on your bike”. He says, “later, not now, mum. Turn it on.” I get a packed lunch ready while he chucks a tantrum.
Finally on the bike he rides really fast ahead of me, so I have to chase him up a hill in thongs. I noticed he has crapped his dacks, but he doesn’t care he is distracted by the lighthouse. He races towards it and runs through a wedding which is taking place underneath, poo appearing on his thigh.
I’m out of breath when I arrive at the lighthouse to find my kid clawing at the door, beside himself with tears. “Make it open, mum. Make it open. I want to see the lighthouse.”
The lighthouse is closed, the wedding guests are staring at me and my crap-dacked kid. I tell him there’s a pterodactyl (who knew that word started with a ‘p’) laying eggs at the lookout to get him away  from the beautiful wedding scene.
Arrive at the look out, ready for our beautiful selfie moment. The view is breathtaking. I go to show my son, but he is two busy playing with a broken wench thing. I ask him to look up at the view to see the boats and the yachts and the water and the sky and all the pretty things. He says “go away, not now, busy mum.”
He doesn’t even look. Not once. The wench is ‘broken’ he must fix it. We spend a long time playing with it. A long time.
We ride past the ice cream parlour on the way home because the poo has reached his ankle and I had forgotten a nappy/spare jocks/spare shorts/wipes/money.

My beautiful blonde boy playing on the beach, building perfect sandcastles and Instagram-worthy moats while I relax with my Lena Dunham book on a flat, clean beach towel, skinny in a two piece bikini. No sunburn.

My son squealing with absolute fear from the huge flock of seagulls which are trying to eat his cupcake. They crowd in so fucking thick, I’m terrified they’re going to grab him and fly away with him clenched in their claws. I shoo them away, running after the birds flicking them with my hand towel (I packed the wrong beach towel from the beach house) feeling my thighs wobble in my 1990s-esque one piece complete with ‘Totally’ written in fluro font across the chest. My son somehow in all of this decides to take off his shorts, and he doesn’t wear another pair for the rest of the holiday.

There’s so many visions vs reality scenarios I could take you through (steam train ride = kid falling asleep in the cabin for most of the trip, Alfie telling the man at the IGA counter that the six pack of beer I had was “mum’s way of dealing with it”, or explaining to the fish and chip shop lady that “mum gives me chips all the time”, or asking the bikie who chased after us to give us Alfie’s forgotten thongs if he was a pirate), but you would be bored.

In saying that though, without a kid on holiday with me, I reckon I’d be bored too. Whilst there’s heaps more stress, anxiety, unsure feelings and frustrations, I kind of relate to the boat reversing man today, if holidays were as perfect as you planned, they’d be boring. If he cracked that trailer reverse in one go without anyone looking, no dogs barking, no wife directing him while live tweeting, well that would be just plain pointless.

So to the boat reversing man, you’re my hero. I hope I’m like you and cool as a cucumber next weekend when it comes to reversing our four wheeler next to the crooked beach caravan while my kid throws toys at me from the back seat.

I look forward to it already.

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