We had a lovely day out at the beach yesterday with a big group of friends and their kids. The kind of day where everyone looks after whatever kid is closest to them, where the adults talk and drink beer and BBQ and the kids roam in packs and there is a lot of sand, salt, sunblock and sun. You know, the kind of days you remember from your childhood, those long summer days at the beach.
What? You don't remember those kind of days? No, neither do I! I had this this little moment of clarity about half way through as I watched Hazel playing with a couple of other little girls, doing something small-girlish with sand and water, that her childhood is going to be so very different than mine in a lot of ways. I grew up in Canada and yes we had long summer days and I played with my friends, but they weren't spent at the beach and there wasn't sand or sunblock or seagulls. We didn't mess around in boats. Well actually we did I suppose - on a muddy lake. It was a marvellous childhood and I know Hazel's will be too, but it makes me a little wistful sometimes that she won't know snow, she won't skate, she will have a different accent than me. They're not important things I know, but they do serve to remind me that sometimes I'm a stranger in a strange land!
I mentioned it to one of the other mums, who's Scottish, and she said that when she was out kayaking with one of her kids on the warm ocean, on a sunny day, on a beach that looked empty, that it suddenly hit her that this, this was why she was in New Zealand. And she's right - there are always compensations!