Simple pleasures shine the brightest

Growing up there was no money for big fancy holidays. We looked forward to camping holidays up on the NSW central coast. Mum always tried to find a place near the beach. One of our favorite places was Shelly Beach, in the Lake District, near The Entrance.

We always took our own tent and cooking gear. It was great roasting marshmallows over the fire while listening to the surf crash on the shore. In latter years we had a camp stove that used bottled gas but Mum always made a fire for the marshmallows.

I barely remember 1 fantastic storm where the wind and the rain was so strong that Joe and Mum had to go out into the storm and try to batten down the tent pegs. I stayed in the tent screaming and crying, and all I could hear was Mum yelling at Joe over the sound of the thunder to “get this peg “and then “Joe over here, on this side.” All the while Mum was laughing at me and the commotion I was causing. Then, in a pause in the storm, Mum would pop her head into the tent to laugh at me again and say “Chickadee there is nothing to be scared of. You and I have seen worse storms than this."

Then early the next morning it was a treat to search the beach to see what the storm had washed ashore. Looking back on those times and with adult eyes, I can see the childish glee in Mum's eyes as we combed the shoreline for the marvels of the deep. Every rock pool was a new adventure. Every shell held to our ears sang a different song. It was with Mum that my love of the beach began.

Another year we spent the Easter holidays at this same beach. I worried that the Easter Bunny would not find us if we were not home. Mum had a quiet giggle to herself and said that just like Santa, the Easter Bunny would 'just know' where we were and I was not to worry. Needless to say the Easter Bunny 'just knew' we were there and left Easter eggs for us at the foot of our sleeping bags.

Even on my last holiday with Mum, if only for a day, we went to South Stradbroke Island Resort. Mum lunched on fresh Seafood caught locally. We took a ride over to the ocean side of the island and strolled along the beach. Again finding shells and holding them to our ears and listening to their song.

I took these experiences and used them in the making of holiday memories with my children. I didn't have money for fancy holidays with them either, but we managed a few nice camping holidays. I shared with them the joys of the beach after a storm, just like Mum did with us. I looked into their eyes seeing their childish joy in finding a nice big shell, just like Mum did with us. I showed them the stars of Orion and The Southern Cross, just like Mum did with us.

Even in ways we are not aware of, we are all like our Mum. I look forward to being able to share more of Mum's hand-me-down ways with my grandchildren. I was able to watch Mum with her grandkids, my kids, and I saw again the childish glee in her eyes of a perfectly formed sandcastle. And the giggles as the waves of high tide washed it away. The joy of a picnic on the back lawn in autumn, nothing fancy just leftovers and sandwiches.

In all my memories of times shared with Mum, it is the times of sharing the simple pleasures that life has to offer, that shine the brightest.

Mum you are my 'First star at night' that I make a wish upon every night. I love you and miss you terribly.


We Will Love You Always