finding fun

Most moms keep a scrapbook to record their children’s “first”, but this mom got to have her own “first”. Sometimes the best things in life really are free.
By Anél Lewis

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We recently spent some time at the coast and I was struck once again by how reliant our children have become on external – often digital – stimulation to keep them entertained. For the initial day or so, I found myself constantly explaining to Conor that yes, there was no Wi-Fi, and no, there would be no screen time. The first trip to the beach drew mixed reviews from my city slicker children. “There’s so much sand,” wailed Erin. “Erm … well yes, that’s what distinguishes the beach from a park,” I mumbled to myself as we walked the 300 metres to the sea. “My feet are too sore to carry my bodyboard,” moaned Conor. I gritted my teeth and told myself that the pure, unadulterated joy of being in the surf would put an end to their moaning. It did – but it also silenced my own inner voice that had been shouting out negative thoughts throughout the year.
 
As I found myself whooshing (okay, bobbing may be more apt) towards the beach on a wave, I could feel the stress and tension of the past year ebb away. It was my first time on a bodyboard, and I loved every exhilarating second. Aside from the rush of being able to make it to the shore in one piece, there was something magical about being able to share it with Conor and Erin as they flew past me on their boards. Erin’s laugh could be heard above the crash of the waves, and I watched as Conor’s confidence grew with each successful surf. There was no talk of iPads or Minecraft. It was just us and the sea. The rest of the holiday included similar simple pursuits. Conor got stuck into some house painting (with actual paint and not little blocks in an online game) and Erin and her friend rode their bikes to a nearby grass patch for an impromptu picnic of grapes and warm Oros. No bells and whistles, no fancy apps and shiny toys. And the verdict on the drive home after this blissful break? “Can we come back here for our next holiday?”
 
Anél Lewis is taking surfing lessons on the sly, so that she can keep up with the rest of the family when they visit the coast again.

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