Ten adults, two toddlers, one baby, four cars. There were only two possibilities. This was going to be good. Or more realistically, this was going to be very, very bad. One group chat on whats app: “road trip.” And I was to blame.
After we finally got our entire luggage and all of AJ’s Lego (a three day trip and he couldn’t possibly live without it) into the car, I realised that this was it. My family were going on holiday… together. Think happy thoughts. Stay positive. Think happy thoughts. Stay positive.
As much as my family love each other and as much as my family and I live inside each other’s pockets, we also have a history of falling out with each other. Coupled with a history of holding grudges. For-a-long-time. Ten adults, two toddlers, one baby, four cars, a three day trip, two apartments = the perfect recipe for falling out.
The car trip was a game of who was where. Sending each other location updates, stopping here, stopping there – at the pub for a beer, the side of the road to settle a screaming baby, some not stopping at all. There was torrential rain, some wondered if they’d survive. Eventually destination reached: Lakes Entrance – bang! “Here we are!”
The apartments were next door to each other, so like cats and mice, in and out we went. Bring over some wine, bring over some Maltese Twisties, where are the kids? It was late in the afternoon, some were tired and nodded off to sleep. Others already with laptops open, glued to their social media. The apprehension, hesitation and underlying worry set in again. Was this even going to work? Why did we even come?
We came because of the photos. The old photos from Christmas. The photos of nostalgic summers. Long nights. Lazy days. Summers that formed the patchwork of our childhood. I stopped worrying. I just let the Universe be.
From sitting on the couch, wondering what to do, the next minute we were all in the pool. Social media was off. Phones were left in the apartments. I had the digital SLR in hand and now it was our turn to capture the memories. To create them. To enjoy what we value most. With all our oddities and misshaped personalities, we somehow come together and make it work.
From pool to pizza. Dried off, kids in their pj’s and we all settled in for our first night. One cousin on his guitar, another trying to hold key and sing the tunes. Others kicking back with the kids on the couch. Others playing with the baby, trying to encourage her to walk. Some just kicking back with wine in hand, taking it all in. We ordered too many pizza’s. There was plenty of wine. One cousin brought out his tarot cards and everyone took their turn at a reading. A space was set aside for AJ and his Lego. I was there with my digital SLR. I was the dream catcher. The one who sat behind the lens. The one who would take the moment and create its immortality.
The first night rolled into the first morning. We woke to French toast, bacon, coffee. I absolutely love how my cousin didn’t let anyone have even one slice of toast or bacon, till it was all ready and we could all sit down to breakfast, together, to eat. The day idled away. Some of us went fishing. Some of us went on long walks. Some of us went for a bike ride along the lakes. We all went for another swim. There were more tarot readings and more Lego. That night at the pub, our table was the longest in the room. We were the loudest. It was a celebration of love and the bonds only family can share.
In my mind, I was at peace. This was meant to be. The summers will come and the summers will go. With each passing one, we vow to add another link to our chain. The destinations will change and each time there will be more of us to share these moments with. There I will be. Digital SLR in hand creating the old photos of tomorrow.