Susan, Roxi and Finn enjoy some family holiday bliss.
‘This has been one of the best holidays I have ever had in my life,’ I announced to Roxi one Thursday night in early January as we both laid stretched out on the couch in front of the TV.
Surprisingly she agreed.
Unlike previous holidays together, Roxi and I had not gone driving into the desert in our biscuit-wheeled Corsa, nor traversed any other exciting and dangerous terrains. We hadn’t spent lavish afternoons glugging Mojitos on seaside restaurant verandahs. In fact we had barely set foot in a takeaway joint. We had not spent one moment ululating along to Abba in a karaoke bar. Not that we would EVER do that. But you know what I mean.
Instead the ‘best holiday of our lives,’ has been spent being chased by a small boy and his cart, playing more hosepipe-inspired water games than the Municipality would be happy about and spending many hours playing on the carpet amongst squeals from our delighted boy. Who would have thought?
This holiday was the first time since Finn’s birth that we had nothing other to do than adore each other. And we did. How nice we all were without any external pressures bearing down on us. How patient Roxi suddenly became with my inability to notice that the sink tap was dripping. How cute Roxi was with the way she kept alphabetising the spice cupboard. What a silly but funny little boy Finn was to resist having his nappy changed yet again.
We spent four weeks in our love haze until one morning reality arrived just after Roxi left for work. It arrived in the form of Thandi standing at our front door beaming. ‘Molo!’ she bellowed at Finn. At the sight of her, Finn suddenly went from being my number one fan to leaping into Thandi’s arms, lovingly stroking her face and flat out ignoring me. I stood arms hanging at my sides watching the two of them giggle as they took turns throwing laundry into the washing machine.
‘Mommy’s going to check her emails Finn,’ I tried. ‘Want to come?’ Neither of them looked up. I retreated head-bowed and slowly walked to my computer to trawl through the 146 work-related emails waiting for me. From being part of a loved-up family, I was suddenly on my own, immersed in a world of production schedules, looming deadlines and people management.
Hearing Finn and Thandi playing hide-and-seek in the room next door nearly sent me over the edge. I had to stop myself from flying out there and breaking up the party. Why do we have to work? Why is it near impossible to afford to live in a half decent house and pay for food and petrol without both parents having to work?! How has this happened? I want to stay in a love bubble forever.
After about 30 minutes I ventured out again, desperate to reconnect with my boy. Surely he’d be missing me by now. He was bent over the vacuum cleaner repeatedly pushing the on and off button. He barely looked up. ‘Backboom,’ he said – trying out his word for vacuum. He pointed at Thandi, encouraging her to have a go. Clearly I was the only one suffering from the domestic shift.
That evening I snapped at Roxi. ‘Do you have to keep alphabetizing the spice rack?’ I huffed. ‘I need help changing Finn’s nappy!’
‘I liked you better when you were on holiday,’ she replied.
The truth is I like us all better on holiday. But there is nappy money to be made and bonds to be paid and school fees to save and I am taking deep breaths for those frequent in-between moments, when there’s also a lot of loving to be done. Are you missing that loving holiday feeling?