Last Call


A great holiday is like a fantastic night out. It begins with the same excitement, planning, and organization. Just thinking about what you’re going to do and who you’re going to see can bring a smile to your face in the middle of the most mundane task.

There’s been gourmet meals, every day bbq’s, take-away curries, and a quick trip down the road for fish and chips. We’ve sat with family in the back yard, toasted birthdays with bubbles, and fished cricket balls out of the trees and gutters with neighbours. Beach towels have hung on the front fence while the washing machine has spat out a kilo of sand. The dishwasher has been packed by many sets of hands while various playlists were set to shuffle in the background. Glasses were dried by visitors, tea poured, coffee hand delivered from the local bakery, and breakfast cooked before one guest left and another arrived.

When I look back at this trip it is by far one of our best nights out. Events arrived like the familiar tune of your favourite song, causing  you to run to the dance floor “I love this one!” Christmas in my hometown, Aunty Suzie’s wedding in Sydney, and a quiet night on the beach with a girlfriend where I borrowed my 11 year old’s boogie board and caught a wave that had me squealing with complete exhilaration.

“Did you see me? Did you see me!” I asked G, my smile stretching my cheeks back to my ears.

We’ve packed a lot in on this trip but it still feels like we’ve let people down, and somehow got it all wrong. I haven’t seen my parents enough, our wedding in Sydney clashed with my Dad’s 70th birthday. I had to cancel a visit from a friend, it once again felt like we could have done with two extra bedrooms. We wondered where the time went.

We reached the point in the evening when the lights went on and the barman called last drinks and we’d completely lost track of the time. When the last drinks warning came we quickly squished more in, in the same way that a run to the bar is made and 5 beers ordered we arranged one more dinner, one more lunch, one more sleepover.

And now here we are. Time to pack, no more sleeps left, we’ve checked in online, we leave tonight.

We ran out of time to do things we’ve talked about for months, my hair needs a cut, we didn’t see the baseball coach, we missed swimming lessons at the beach. None of it matters, you can’t do everything, and we’ve done well.

It’s time to admit that the night is almost over. Our neighbours have returned to the city. The spare bed has been stripped of its sheets. The fridge emptied. The lights taken down from the tree.

And while G washes down the bbq and I plan a trip to the laundromat and the little travellers pack away their summer life in preparation for a winter Doha school day tomorrow I can see we’re all thinking the same thing.

Just one last trip to the beach.

Last call.

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