We are in the middle of the Easter holidays here.
I thought it was going to be a quiet break, but it hasn’t turned out that way. DorkySon spent last weekend recovering from the excitement of his birthday – he lay on the sofa and worked his way steadily through all the new DVDs he’d been given – but this week he has had a swimming lesson every day and we have been fitting in all the things like dentist appointments and haircuts that can no longer happen during the term.
Last night DorkyDad and I went to the launch of Dark MOFO. Tomorrow our supply of winter firewood arrives, so we’ll be spending a good few hours stacking that and – *shudders* – hopefully avoiding the spiders. Next week we head to Bruny Island for a few nights, before having some friends to stay for the final weekend of the holiday.
Since DorkySon started school full time one of the things I’ve really missed is going to the park with him. Even in cold or windy weather we often used to bundle up and drive ten minutes along the road to Long Beach. I guess he has been missing it too because one day last week he asked if we could go, and we had the best couple of hours there – packed full of simple pleasures.
Long Beach is my very favourite place in Hobart, and not just because it’s where I fell in love with the city for the first time. It’s a playground and a beach and a short walking path all rolled into one. It is such a lively place – always a magpie singing above your head and a rosella at your feet waiting for a biscuit crumb to fall. It’s also a great example of how well people share space here – toddlers just learning to walk can easily play alongside older kids without any problems. Even when there are skinny, strutting teenage boys practicing their parkour, it is rare to see shoving or jostling.
It is most lovely at this time of year, when the light is soft, and the sun peeks through the branches of the eucalypts. It’s amazing to go to a place with such great facilities and sometimes find that there are only a few families there – anywhere else in the world it would be overrun. Sometimes last winter we would go and have the entire playground to ourselves. Other times we’d bump into people we know, and DorkySon would have a buddy to play hide and seek or swap snacks with.
When we first moved here DorkySon wasn’t able to tackle a lot of the play equipment. Over the last eighteen months I have watched him grow in courage and confidence, jumping from higher heights, his balance getting better on the beams. Now he climbs and clambers with ease. He likes the swings best, telling me that one day he really will reach the sky. But sometimes he likes to just find a quiet spot on the big blue whale, where he lies back and breathes deeply.
He likes to go barefoot when we are there, and usually ends up with brown woodchip smears on his face. He has a talent for gathering sand in the turn-ups of his trousers. When he is tired and thirsty he runs to the water fountain, but he’s not quite tall enough to work it properly, and often ends up with cold water gushing over his face and clothes.
When he is done with the playground, we wander down to the beach so he can look for shells, or throw gum nuts and rocks into the sea. No matter how chilly it is he likes to hoik his trousers up and paddle in the shallows, skipping ahead of me to chat with the seagulls. We walk along to the steps and watch the spray, the passing boats and the rainbows.
And then, always, there is an ice cream. In summer, teenage girls come by with homemade icy poles, fifty cents each and sticky juice trickling down your chin. But at this time of year we walk up to the shop for a cone and a scoop instead, then sit and eat it with feet dangling over the edge. One of these days I will persuade him to try a paper wrap full of hot, salty chips.
Time at the park is good for DorkySon, and for me. I had forgotten how good fresh air is for improving a grumbly day. Our afternoon last week reminded me that I should make time to go even when he is at school. When I’m alone there I’m always drawn in the other direction – round the headland, past the rockpools and and a wee jump down to Blinking Billy bay where there are treasures to be found on the pebble beach.
I’ve had two posts published elsewhere this week. One at Mamalode, about multitasking not always being the best way to parent, and one at Mommikin about the joy of scrapbooking. Please pop over and show those sites some love!