We took a short family break a few weeks ago. It was the first time since my maternity leave that myself and my husband were off work together and it was really lovely to spend time together, just the three of us.
The menfolk in my family are cut from the same cloth in so many ways and share many similarities that just couldn’t be learned. Both are natural waterbabies. Although I love water myself, I am a good swimmer but not a strong one and a just-slightly-too-cold temperature will soften my cough when it comes to an anticipated swim. There has been many an occasion when I have long tired of the pool or the sea and T will continue to dive and swim for literally hours. Pip, it seems, is the same. His fascination with water is boundless. The pleasure he takes in turning his cup upside down so that he can splash the tiniest amount of water around on any surface is incredible. The first time he paddled in the sea, he was so overwhelmed with emotion it took a long time to ground him back to a calm place.
Winter walks on the beach are a lovely romantic idea in theory but a battle of wills in practice and two ended in tantrums and a wet toddler who could not be dissuaded that the November Atlantic sea was a perfect playground. As a compromise we took ourselves off to a local hotel which had a great pool and, unbeknownst to us until we arrived, a mini-spa area for adults to enjoy along with their swim.
While the boys splashed and blew bubbles in the water, I decided I’d take advantage of the facilities for a few minutes.
It being a Wednesday afternoon in November, I had the luxury of the Turkish bath all to myself and as a wave of breathtaking, fragrant steam hit me as I entered the room, a body memory of pre-mama me flashed over me. It was so strong, overwhelming in fact, and so sudden, I started laughing.
A loud, heartfelt, belly-deep laugh that I haven’t heard in a long time. It was like a release of emotions sweeping over me as tension left my body. I stood in the middle of the room with my arms stretched out and let the hot steam and the smell of fresh lavender wrap around me as the laughter rippled up and out through me. I had this wonderful feeling of freedom and serenity.
If anyone had seen me they’d probably have called security.
Then the moment passed. I drank in one last breath of moist air and realised I’d had the perfect about of time in there. I stepped into the jacuzzi for five minutes to reflect on what had just happened but in the background, cutting through the din of swimming pool sounds, I could hear the infectious giggles of a little boy squealing in delight as he played with his Dad in the pool and suddenly my thoughts weren’t interested in reflection and instead were replaced with a longing to share in the fun and be with my family.
It would appear, for the second time, it just takes five minutes – five short minutes all to myself – to refresh, reset and re-energise.