As the men-children get older, so too does the challenge of finding a holiday to satisfy the whole family. This becomes increasingly important as their needs change, and also as the number of family holidays we are likely to have in the future with them diminishes rapidly. Although I have no doubt any offer to take them overseas will ensure an instant family holiday – no questions asked!!
That’s not to say that every family holiday should centre on the men-children, but more that we ideally want everyone to enjoy their time together. Mother of a Man-Child and Father of a Man-Child invariably want a relaxing holiday, having worked hard to ensure we can afford them in the first place; Sister of a Man-Child just wants to have fun playing with her parents and brothers and receiving bucket loads of undivided attention (fair enough when you’re seven), and the Men-Children want either access to loads of cool stuff or their mates on tap 24/7.
Both of these present challenges. Firstly, in order to satisfy the mate requirement, you either organise a family holiday with another family (no easy feat to co-ordinate in the modern world), or invite a couple of extra kids along on the trip (if you think you can cope or afford it), or stay where their friends stay. Having two men-children with different circles of friends makes the latter challenging to say the least. Especially when one of them thinks that Portsea at Christmas time is THE place to be (as I did at his age!!!). Apologies to my friends who have lovely beach houses down there, but I can’t bring myself to pay $’000’s of dollars over summer to rent a house there and queue for bread every day, or battle for a parking spot, only to bump into all my Melbourne acquaintances. Now of course if I had a lovely, large beach house I could hide in for summer that might be different. 🙂
So the alternative is finding somewhere that has cool stuff for men-children to do, to keep them entertained on occasion, and a place that also provides the opportunity for us to relax and unwind whilst entertaining a sometimes demanding seven-year old! Invariably we seem drawn to the beach for holidays (although we have done the odd snow vacation but frankly I find it anything but relaxing – I need a double espresso laced with Scotch by the time I hit the first run at 9am having got everyone out the door in all the requisite gear). There’s nothing quite like the warmth of the sun and the heady combination of sand and surf in Australia; we’ve been to some wonderful beach spots over the years with the kids, including Kangaroo Island, Merimbula, Sunshine Coast, Phillip Island, Gold Coast, Wilsons Promontory, Mission Beach, South Molle Island, Apollo Bay and of course Somers.
The beach is always the perfect antidote to Melbourne’s winter, and summer just isn’t the same without a spell beachside. And what’s a holiday in Australia without the mandatory road trip (we’ve done a few of them too) with the back of the car or trailer filled to the brim and the family resembling the Griswolds off on their next vacation!
But increasingly the boys are no longer happy to just be at the beach for days on end (certainly not in the company of their parents). God I hope this is normal and not just a reflection of how disliked we are by them? Like all good teenagers they seem intent on spending as much time as possible lying in bed, and then arising to feed, then swim, then feed and loll about again. Hence we look for a mixture of adventure and indulgence.
So we’re going to Hamilton Island in September, with lots of water activities and day trips for us and/or them to partake in whilst mother and daughter lie poolside, and hopefully some other teenagers they can hook up with day and/or night. And we’re considering Sydney in January. We figure there’s plenty for men-children and us to see and do in Sydney (bridge climbs, harbour jet boating, ferries, opera house, Sydney tower etc), and if all else fails, we’ll just spend days at Bondi beach watching the world-famous lifeguards rescue stupid international tourists from the many rips whilst they swim outside the flags – doh!!
BTW, I know it must seem ridiculous for me to be talking about holidays in January already, but as anyone with kids knows, you need to get in early if you are to be organised and find decent accommodation options for a family of five. So it’s never too early to float ideas with the family over dinner to see what sounds like a viable option. Any thoughts or suggestions welcome, especially if you’ve found a great spot that satisfies everyone.