Dad’s log. Day 3 of our 8-day expedition of exploration… my crew of two settled excitedly into their temporary resort environment. Their sense of holiday time gives them cause to make the argument that five serves of vegetable and two of fruit does not apply. “But, Daa-aad… it’s holidays… we ought to be having fun!” is their reasoned argument against not tending to the standard chores.

Somehow the crew have morphed my school-term role of Single Dad into Holiday Time Amusement Host. Unfortunately, the mess-hall conversation (aka, dinnertime), which is our familiar serious conversation time, didn’t seem an appropriate time for them to disclose the nature of my new role. It seems that I missed their telepathic attempt to communicate that I choose excitement at the expense of responsibility.

My mind-reading radar gets a bit scratchy when I try to rouse the kids from their hypersleep (i.e. drag them away from the TV), while simultaneously tending to the frantic dinner scramble in the galley. I was on my way to navigate the complex solar system of care, fun, tenderness, relaxation, parental steadfastness and excitement. Simultaneously, the crew heard “holiday” and interpreted that to mean open season on Easter chocolate, unlimited TV and swimming ahead of jobs.

I feared a mutiny, with talk of a bounty on my head!

Wonderful Journey

We have journeyed to Coolum and Noosa to visit some friends. Our spacecraft has been kindly loaned, so it would be wrong to wish for the newer faster-than-light model. The crew are upset at counting off kilometres every multiple minutes instead of fractions of a second. When I travelled similar voyages as a junior ensign, cows, sheep, excavators and overhead planes held me captivated. Those same ‘highlights’ are, for the next generation, about as exciting as mushroom-flavoured ice cream. If only I could put “Dad, I’m bored!” to music and turn it into a Gangnam Style hit… it would seem an apt reward for enduring the insistent coercion to provide entertainment, holiday meals sans vegetables and staying up late.

The surroundings are new and captivating. We jet from iconic surf beaches to gelato café to visiting friends to the swimming pool. Busy fun blurs by with dazzling speed. We are in and out of the Honda to seek out the next experience of delightful fun. We enjoy moment after moment of happy craziness, yet I am aware it limits sit-still time just to tune into one another. Instead, the more full-of-heart gifts are times that are unplanned, arriving unexpectedly in the quiet points at the end of our day when we slow and reconnect. The busy daytime search for fun is not opening portals to my two wonderful daughters for us to settle into heart-to-heart conversation.

Instead, those carefree moments prior to bunking down have done most for morale. A brief water fight after dinner. An extra ration of ice cream. Letting the crew win at a card game of Uno. A chirpy chat about a Friesian cow I saw off in a paddock… a hearty laugh from the crew about a Friesian cow falling over in a YouTube clip. A cheeky chat about the skipper’s chest hair making him look like Wolverine. Light banter about “What made your day awesome?”

Quality Time

Awesome is starting to wear like airport carpet, yet my own replacement dad word — megafantabulous — hasn’t taken off. My delightful crew still humour me with the evening chatter about our awesome day. I am not too far off day 4 of eight which has me thinking through our R&R itinerary. Tomorrow our Honda will stay parked on the launch pad. Just being around for one another will be the new program. I think that we have discovered that there is great richness in sitting still for fun to form naturally rather than busily trying to craft it.

Soon enough it will be time to return to base. The crew will recommence their school study. Holiday highlights will convert into memories. We have traversed plenty of ground. However, the great ground we have made is in our family relationship. Our closeness could easily have stayed camouflaged in hectic schedules. Instead, slowing our lively ventures revealed the beautiful simplicity and importance of time sitting still in each other’s company.

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Photo by Elina Fairytale.

Published On: January 5th, 20230 CommentsTags: , , , , ,

About the Author: Greg McInerney

Greg is the father of two daughters.

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