I lay on the grass with a jacket under my head and a book in my hand. It was a delightful Winter morning in the tropics. The air was fresh and the sun warm. My daughter with a curly mop of hair positioned herself, leaning her back on my stomach, to play a game on my iPhone. We stayed thus, in a T shape, for a good hour I suppose; quiet periods interspersed with unimportant chatter.
A mother remembers these special times. Do you know what I mean? When time seems to still and in that particular moment, there’s a definition of all you wanted in motherhood, despite all the good and bad times gone before and no matter what’s ahead.
Later, we meandered down for a walk on the beach.
She found a starfish, a way up the shore.
“I’ll go and take it to the ocean,” she said.
One starfish. I hope it likes being back in the ocean.
This eldest girl of mine loves adventure like I do. She’s gutsy and brave, and this day was just for the two of us. I like to do that: spend time one of one with each of my four children when I can. It’s important to me. Especially now that my daughter is heading into the teenage years; I can see already how fast these next years will fly, and my heart aches as much as it rejoices in the process. I feel an urgency to capitalise on moments with her, because things change so rapidly at this age. They grow up. And I’m not just saying grow older, but they grow up. It’s different, and her being the eldest, it’s the first time I’ve experienced this.
We had this day.
After the relaxing frolic on the beach, we went on a short drive through the bush to the sand tobogganing site. The creamy white hills reached the sky. It almost looked like a wave, my daughter said. And so it did.
This is the view looking down to the 4-wheel-drive bus.
Quite an effort to climb up, I can tell you, but it was a blast! Loved every second. Miss 12 and I did it as many times as we could (we both got 4 goes).
Guess what? Out of the bus full of people, I won the award for being the champion! Ha! Not sure I’ve won anything before in my life! So there you go. Say hello to a Sand Tobogganing Campion.
As the day came to a close, just before our cruise boat would take us back to the mainland, we waded into the cold sea water where wild dolphins come by. The dolphin feeding is carefully supervised and run by trained staff. Plus the dolphins are fed only a small proportion of their daily requirements so they don’t become dependent on feeding a food source. My daughter and I both agreed it was an amazing experience to see these wild animals up close. Tick: off the bucket list.
You can see how close the dolphins came as they snatched a fish out of my hand. Beautiful, beautiful creatures!
My daughter and I were quiet on the return boat trip. Not because we had nothing to say, but because there was this sense of weary but satisfied energy between us. We had spent a fabulous day together, full with the right combination between chilling and adventuring. I wish I could bottle it — I really do — so I could take a sniff of the ocean and feel the wind swept hair of my daughter in my fingers; to relive that pinnacle moment again.