This last week we have experienced family togetherness as never before. Forgive me using my blog for such a inward-looking reflection, but I must record how for the first time ever both sets of grandchildren (with their parents of course) were able to spend a week's holiday together. That's eleven of us! (I know - a small tribe compared with some but capable of decibel levels and energy output far beyond their numbers). With one family living in New Jersey, USA and the other in London UK it is rarely possible to spend more than a day or two together. But not this time.
Carol and I look back on this past week with immense gratitude. Why? Partly because bright dry weather every day allowed us to make the most of staying at the seaside in Minehead, Somerset; partly because the five children ranging in ages from 13 to 3 happily co-existed day after day; and partly because the beach was opposite which allowed daily visits for hours at a time, looking for crabs, treasure, damming streams and flying kites.
But mostly we are grateful for the sheer miracle of family togetherness. When it works, it's glorious! My oldest son commented wistfully that it was just like holidays in his youth. Rather old fashioned because the main interests were all outdoors enjoying nature and engaged in physical activity. There were no funfairs, amusement arcades, expensive children's activities. Yet, every day enthusiasm reigned on the beach, visiting a castle and climbing down the ravine at Watersmeet for a cream tea. Good old fashioned fun by the sea, with tension from work falling off shoulders and laughter bubbling up instead.
We organized it in order to celebrate that we both have big birthdays this year. We could think of no better way than family togetherness. And so it proved to be!