I’m not one for fuss, faff or forced fun so when Mother’s Day came round this year I asked for a low-key day where I could go slow and spend time outdoors in nature with my family. This past year has been incredibly challenging and intense at times and I seek every possible opportunity to be outside, dosing-up on fresh air and vitamin D – it always seems to revitalize my senses and brings me back to myself when I’m feeling the disconnection, stress and strain that comes with life.
So, after a gentle morning of coffee, toast and reminiscing about family holidays my husband made up a little picnic of sandwiches, Victoria spongecake and a flask of tea while I got ready in peace and quiet and then we headed off on a mini-excursion around the gorgeous Ards Peninsula.
Heavy rain and dark skies loomed, making us think we would more than likely end up spending the afternoon enjoying a scenic drive around the coast, with lunch in the car (crumb central) while overlooking the choppy Irish Sea. To be perfectly honest, I was fine with that! I was feeling really tired with the continued lockdown situation, something I sense a lot of people are experiencing right now, and didn’t know if I could muster-up the energy for much more than a pretty drive around the coast with my family.
We did eat in the car as it so happens – watching gulls and pied wagtails hopping around and swooping while a glorious rainbow arched across the glass-green sea. It was really quite peaceful and I felt myself unwind and relax a little, listening to the chit-chat while staring out across the waves.
My youngest son had brought with him a little kite he had bought with his pocket-money in France two summers ago, but which had remained unopened and forgotten until that morning. We drove on around the coast, which is dotted with lovely, uncrowded beaches, hoping for a break in the rain to try out the kite – there was certainly a brisk breeze judging by the waves and much enthusiasm to get out and test it finally!
Portavogie was the place we ended up stopping at, layering-up for the inevitable wind-chill factor before getting out of the car. We ran for the beach, glad to stretch and move at last after the drive, but of course the minute our feet hit the sand the heavens opened once more! I didn’t care, we were out and had our coats on and so we were staying out! Undeterred by the battering wind and rain we made our way along the deserted beach, grateful for the space to be free. The combination of the wild scenery, the noise of the wind and waves, fresh air and openness to roam was exactly what I needed. I could slowly feel myself come alive, the heaviness ease a little and as we plodded along, poked around in rock pools, rolled down the sand dunes and eventually had a chance to fly the kite it became clear that this was just the kind of gentle adventure we all needed – no real agenda, no forward planning or grand gestures, simply the opportunity to unwind and play, to forget life’s worries for a little while and enjoy the freedom the beach offered.
Watching my son fly his kite, the biggest grin imaginable on his rosy-red face, was heartwarming and as we all hopped over rocks, played chase with the dog and explored I couldn’t help but take a little dander off on my own to look back on the scene, grateful for this little family of mine and how we’ve worked so hard this past year to keep things going and to thrive together even when feeling so stretched at times.
By the time we have walked the entire length of the beach and back we are all suitably ready for some cake and a cuppa. I love that the afternoon was so chilled-out and fuss-free yet was still really fun. It definitely ticked the box of some much-needed wild family time during a season that’s been so anxious and uncertain. I hadn’t really felt like doing much but was glad of a few hours of windswept wandering on a beautiful beach with my crazy bunch of boys. I feel so lucky that we have so many great, uncrowded pockets of wild to explore so close to home and getting the beach all to yourself always feels like such a special treat doesn’t it?
Sometimes being a Mum feels like such a huge responsibility and I constantly fear that I’m messing up, that I’m somehow failing them, but, it’s also an incredible privilege to be Mum to 3 super lads who make me smile every single day, and even on the days when it feels like a battleground of bickering, noise and messy chaos, they remind me of what’s most important to me in life. My life-motto of ‘simplicity, adventure, connection’ is all-encompassing for family, work and my own personal experience and our Mother’s Day adventure on the Ards Peninsula certainly encapsulated that intentional way of living so perfectly.
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