Friday morning, packing again. Six in the car this time, so keep it light. Off we go - oh no! Forgot the tokens! Dammit! Hope for the best.
Three hours, curly roads, hills with twists and turns; I shut my eyes and hang on tight. When we arrive it's all worth it.
A classic Kiwi bach at Simpsons Beach, kindly lent by a friend. Across the road from the beach, we hear the crash of waves. We dump our bags, gobble fish and chips and head off for a walk on the beach.
Treasure hunt in the sand, beach-combing, shell-finding. We come back with pockets full of treasure. Kids are tucked up in bed, we sit on the deck with Baileys as the day fades and the mozzies start to nibble. We dream of adventures to come.
The day starts early, as always, but I am glued to the bed. It seems as if the mattress has become a giant magnet and I am iron shavings. All my thoughts of energy-filled adventures have been sucked out of me with a giant syringe during the night.
I resort to old habits and send the others off to the beach while I give the baby his nap and flop on a deckchair with a book I find. A nagging feeling of guilt tugs at me... I try to dredge up some remnants of energy, but no. "You go and I'll watch the baby..."
The others spend the day in and out of the waves, returning happily with sandy toes, salty lips and more treasures.
By evening I have had enough; the book just isn't that good and the sunset beckons. Did I mention this is where we spent our honeymoon?
Kids in bed, Grandma watching over them, Mr G and I head out.
The sky glows soft pink, with a firey smudge where the sun used to be. I breathe in and wriggle my toes in the sand. Mr G spots a special shell and pockets it for our collection. There's a bowl back home with shells from every beach we have walked on. Souvenirs of happy days.
The next morning, the bed magnet tries again to hold me down - but I resist and drag myself free.
Daddy has headed for a morning swim. "Come on kids, lets go!" I say. I am determined to swim.
We have the beach to ourselves. The tide is in, we jump over the waves, holding hands - me and my kids. They squeal with delight and declare loudly, "This is the best fun ever!"
Daddy joins us and we go out deeper. The water makes me gasp at first but then we are surrounded by watery tranquility. Little bodies cling on tight, we bob over the waves together. They have had enough, but I could stay here forever. I float on my back, enjoying the stillness and the perfect blueness of the sky overhead.