We’re selling our old folding camper and dragged it out this morning, a beautiful sunshiney day, the canvas dense with the scent of happiness and summer and family. Thus please do excuse the self-indulgent I-can’t-believe-they’ve-all-grown-up post.
Because I’m a bit teary. I’m teary as I pull out the box of old games, piles of sand pouring out between my fingers, lone Uno cards and old drawings my daughter worked so carefully on in the years she danced around campsites in Disney dresses bearing water guns. A small badge lies amidst the debris at the bottom; a New Wine Groundbreakers badge a small person once wore, skipping happily off to their group. A Club Penguin card covered in something I don’t want to think about is stuck to the floor, and a ping pong ball, broken Frisbee and half pack of London 2012 playing cards jostle for space in the box.
None of these things are remarkable, but all of them are ours. All of them say something about sun-filled days and rain-battered nights, of children running free and unencumbered by life and grown-up stuff.
In the front box, more sand abounds, and a small pile of pebbles along with a jumble of buckets and spades, long since discarded and disdained. Once upon a time we made sandcastles and buried one another in the sand and made water channels for Castle moats. The sight of the buckets and spades makes my heart ache a little bit.
There’s an old broken kite, and a few cracked water pistols and bits of cricket sets. Once these were shiny and new, and now they’re forgotten, left behind as their owners have no more need. Forgive me for going all Toy Story 2 on you, but it’s a little bit sad.
And a lot happy. As I contemplate all the stuff, I think about what made all these family holidays, all these memories, and know that it’s not just sand from Dorset circa 2009, but it’s the love which cemented us and always will. And them growing up is far from a tragedy, but a wonder-filled season where they come into their own, never losing the joy of what made their childhoods, because it is an intrinsic part of them. Bring it on, I say. Bring on the growing up and the fun we have now. Buckets and spades may have been discarded, but the days still shine with the joy of who they are and who they were and who they will be. Bring it on.
I’m going to stop, now, before anyone barfs at the sickly nature of this post.
But I will allow myself a little sadness as we wave goodbye to our camper and sweep up those last little bits of sand and pebbles and memories.