There is beauty, I am learning, in restoration. Especially, when it comes without trying too hard.
Reading bestsellers on ‘slowing down’ was completely ineffective. The irony of lying restlessly in bed with herbal tea reading the inspiring books only to succumb to the addiction of one last check on social media and email before resting my head was both humorous and terrible.
The combination of how easily distracted I had become along with our rambunctious children meant my expectations of van life bringing about some miraculous instant transformation from our family’s intensity was low.
I have been pleasantly surprised.
My whole body has rapidly adjusted to its natural circadian rhythm as I watched the sun rise and set over the ocean (while still lying in bed in the van for the former) – signalling the beauty of nature’s start and end to each precious day.
My morning caffeine ritual was replaced with a surf sesh (soon followed by caffeine), and my daily schedule has been replaced with time and space to dream, read and relax.
Most of our days have been spent simply being together. While certainly not without its frustrations, I have learned that my daughters are funny. I mean really funny. We have driven along the beach for hours and often this time has been spent belly laughing in the most therapeutic ways.
Everything eaten has been perfectly ‘schnitzel-ed’ in a fine dusting of beach sand.
Alice has directed us daily, requiring each of us to assume a character from Peppa Pig, with method acting at a level that De Niro would be proud of. She is also, I have discovered, a true master of the rapid bait and switch – suddenly informing us that we are actually all her ‘butlers’ and required to get her an endless supply of ‘pink milk’ (what childhood holiday memory is not improved with the memory of Moove’s Strawberry wonder?!?!).
Olivia and Mia’s creativity has been expressed variously and passionately through dance choreography, speech writing, and the most intricate and convoluted games of make-believe.
I have found that I have unintentionally become “mindful” – relaxing in moments where I have been quietly aware of the feeling of the warmth of the sun on my toes. Hearing the waves crashing on the shore. I have even asked Dave to photograph the squadrons of rainbow lorikeets that were doing constant fly-bys, in their hundreds, past the caravan in the twilight.
“This is the best day of my life,” Alice boldly declared as we drove along the beach at dusk. It had been another day filled with simple pleasures. Maybe she has learnt at three what seems to take most of us much longer:… part of our hearts can be filled best through the simple making of memories, together.