Sky above. Sand below. Peace within.
What makes you feel connected? Is it just connections with other people. Or is it connections with places. Places that remind you how you felt at a certain time, a certain age. A location that takes you back to a childhood memory, a time where you fell in love or where you had the best steak ever (I said steak).
Cornwall makes me feel connected. It reminds me to be present. To live in the moment. But then Cornwall also reminds me of days gone by, of childhood holidays, of holidays throughout the years as my babies have grown larger, noisier and more independent. It takes me back to a time without children, to having new babies, to exploring rock pools with toddlers, to spending time with my family.
To just being.
To just sitting and watching and listening to the waves.
Cornwall calms me. It soothes my soul. I genuinely feel more at peace with the world when I’m there*. There’s something about the beach, the view of the coastline, the waves crashing against the rocks on a mizzly day that makes my stress just drain away.
Although given the amount of times I’ve shouted at the kids or my sister’s dog this last week my state of serenity could be debated.
It can be quite hard to feel connected, to maintain the moments of serenity and listen to the calming ebb and flow of the waves when the sister’s ten month old mahoosive lab is trying to shag the 18 year old daughter’s leg.
It truly brings you back to the present as the daughter screams in horror at the scene unfolding on her thigh. I’m not sure the 18yo wanted to be quite so closely connected to Martha the red fox lab at that moment in time.
Anyway. Where was I?
Oh yes. Being present. Being in the moment. Being in the now.
Just being human. Focussing on the here and now. The halcyon hazy beach days of quality family time.
Quality family time when the 14 year finds a rock shaped like a penis and pops it down his pants to show me. To show me and every other parent with their perfect families wandering down the beach road at the time. And every other parent wandering down the beach road with their perfect children all clad in matching Joules outfits obviously debating world peace breathed a huge sigh of relief that their perfect little poppets wouldn’t be so crass. Just you wait perfect parents of poppets – your time will come.
Anyway. Back to just being.
Sitting on the rocks watching the not so smalls surf. Just me and stupid dawg breathing, being still, being present….as the 18year old limps out of the sea having stood on a sodding weaver fish. On the upside she got to chat to the lifeguards which was going ever so well until Grandad rocked up with his camera and insisted on taking a picture of the 18 year old with said lifeguard. Oh how the 18 year old loved living in that moment.
Sometimes I also like to pop on my rose tinted spectacles of nostalgia and remember those balmy Cornwall days of previous years when the not so smalls were smalls and they were totally and utterly in my control**.
Of course they were never clad in matching Joules outfits as the 18 year old daughter would only ever dress as a boy and the 14 year old boy had a penchant for pigtails and my red heels but I did draw a line at him wearing them to the beach. Didn’t want him to scuff his heels on the rock pools. Times gone by when the not so smalls were so small they did my bidding (obviously after the eleventh billionty time of asking).***
Memories of holidays when I was younger than the not so smalls, sitting on rocks with mum seeing if the waves would spray us. Cornwall has been the first holiday places for my babies. It’s been a place of healing for me. For my soul. For my sanity.
Except maybe the year when the then six year old got the runs and spent the entire week in bed with me cleaning up after every accident. (well me and mum, well mainly mum). His memory of Cornwall that year surrounds him mainly sitting in the shower and sh*tting. Oh those tranquil times in the west country.
And now as my not so smalls turn into the talls I love Cornwall for watching my kids just be kids. Still being kids. No brands, no worries about what other people might think, how other people might judge, just being.
Watching the 18 year old and 16 year old cousins bury the 14yo in sand. Watching as they then carved inappropriate body parts on the buried 14yo much to the shock of the Joules clad family.
Cornwall is about spending time with my family. Being with my mum and dad just sitting on the sand and staring out to sea not doing anything but it meaning everything. Being able to hug my mum and dad after months of no touch, no contact, no actual physical connection.
In those moments we make the memories. We etch them in our minds to compare them year after year and this year more than ever they seem so precious. Knowing the olds are getting older and my not so smalls are getting taller means that every year this Cornwall holiday changes just a bit. It takes on a different ebb and flow, but the connection with the place, with my people remains a constant.
Everyone has a place close to their heart that tells a story; a story of happiness, of heart break, of healing. And every place comes with a connection.
Every time we go to Cornwall we leave footprints in the sand, footprints creating new memories, footprints that are washed away with every new tide but memories that we keep for a lifetime.****
*so if someone could buy me a house there (with a sea view) that would be fabulous. thank you.
** ha ha ha ha ha ha ha – as if that ever happened
*** see above
****unless you’re menopausal and then you can remember feck all