Many of my Christmases were spent in a coastal Victorian town called Inverloch where my grandparents had a house. My younger brother and sister would cram into one room, with Mum & Dad in another – Nan & Pop in yet another room and often a cousin or auntie on a couch.
Pop would, WITHOUT FAIL, finish every single meal with a slice of white bread slathered with butter and strawberry jam, cut straight down the middle.
Nan had a big round wooden disc on the wall with the word TUIT in the middle. Every time someone said ‘when I get around to it’ she’d take it off the wall and hand it to them.
We’d spend the whole morning on the beach, Pop creating those wonderful ‘goozy sand castles’ (surely that was the technical name…? never heard of them? ok, maybe not – but that’s what we called them. I think they were called Drizzle Castles?) and Mum digging out a huge hole in the sand including a bench seat for us to use as a car – paper plate steering wheel and all. After lunch we’d go back and do it all again. On the way home we’d stop at the 52 FLAVOURS OF ICE CREAM parlour and I’d order 2 scoops of licorice which my Dad would call ‘wet cement’ and which I still enjoy to this day wherever I can hunt it down.
Eventually the holiday house became too much to handle for my grandparents (who, it should be noted, are still kicking at the ripe old ages of 89 and 92!) and the family hasn’t had one since. I haven’t thought much about holiday houses but recently we’ve moved our daughter to a private school for a ton of different reasons and we attended an orientation for the girls to get to know each other and the parents to mingle. It’s pretty close to Christmas time and the conversation naturally turns to holiday plans.
It seems we’re the odd ones out – at least 80% of the families we spoke to were planning to retreat to their holiday houses in various beachside locations! This stirred up some feelings in me I’m not used to having. I’m still processing whether I’m envious (wouldn’t everyone love a holiday house? when will I have a holiday house? shouldn’t I have a holiday house?), curious (is this being used as a way to position the haves/have nots?) or amused. We are a family who love to discover new places, experience new things and explore the unknown so we’re not likely to ever have a 2nd home we lob at every weekend and school holidays. It’s rare we’d go to the same place twice, and it’s rare we’d even go away twice a year. I consider saying this but I worry it sounds like an excuse for not having a HOLIDAY HOUSE so I display my best friendly conversationalist self and ask lots of questions about these new families we’re here to get to know. Maybe we’ll score an invite for next year?
It’s hard to know what to say when someone asks where you’ll be for the summer and you weren’t planning to go anywhere. Here are 5 ideas I came up with:
- Not telling!
- With you – what’s the address again?
- Camping in our back yard. You?
- Who’s asking?
- Oh goodness, it would be easier to ask WHERE AREN’T WE GOING?
How would you handle this?