This guest post is by Kathy from Yin Yang Mother
Bruns….anyone who has ever been to this place will remember it, nickname and all, with affection.
If you’ve visited, then I dare a smile not to sneak out from the corners of your mouth just reminiscing.
And if you haven’t already been, there are memories to be made.
Bruns…the inevitable Aussie shortened name for Brunswick Heads (NSW), or just plain Brunswick, or in our family’s case ‘Bumswick’.
We’ve been going to Bumswick for the last eight years – this month will mark holiday number nine for our extended family (we missed out in 2011 when we lived in Canada, and had to make do with Skyping in).
It’s always the last week of November, the second last week of the school year – so the crowds are thinner and the water still coolish. It’s always the same.
Not much has changed in nine years, which is a big part of the reason we keep coming back.
The cousins have grown – the eldest boy from 4 to 12, the two girls from 2 to 10, the younger one from 3 months old to 8 years and the littlest boy, who debuted in 2010, is going on 4 already and eager to keep up.
The Poppy has fought cancer and come out the other side, and all of us have gotten older, if not wiser.
We still eat and drink too much at Bumswick – it’s a tradition, although this year maybe we’ll moderate. It’s what we always say.
We get four cabins by the creek and we share drinks and meals and good times.
We fish and jump off the bridge, paddle a couple of kayaks, swim, read and rest and watch the tides change, the bank on the other side growing bigger and bigger at the low, until the creek is almost swallowed by the sandbank.
We take our boats (a couple of tinnies), across to the ‘North Shore’ of the Brunswick River where we fish, paddle a couple of kayaks, swim, read and rest and watch the tides change.
Cheeky scrub turkeys and the odd water dragon keep us company.
We fish (well I prefer to read) and we seldom catch anything. We’ve caught a few crabs over the years and there’s always talk of how the fishing will be better this year, until it isn’t.
We swim at the little sheltered beach at the mouth of the river and with the kids getting bigger we’re starting to brave the open surf as well.
I always say I’ll fit in a few beach runs, and usually settle for a few walks. I always read at least one book, and the weekend papers from cover to cover.
I try not to spend too much time on the laptop, with Dad threatening a laptop-free zone.
Wednesday is pub night at the Bruns – the famous hotel’s big beer garden shaded by the most beautiful Poinsietta trees. The kids dance on the stage, with our without music.
We cook casseroles, curries, BBQ’s and spaghetti, eating together, talking into the night, singing badly and arguing too much.
The last day is back to the pub for farewell drinks before the kids have their treasure hunt for the chocolates and lollies we scatter around the gardens of the caravan park.
All too soon the week is over, as weeks are wont to do.
We take photos and videos to capture it all, and every year I make up a video and we look back and laugh at ourselves doing exactly the same things we’ve always done.
(Last year we visited Crystal Castle, which is well worth a visit, and we always have one day exploring – Mullumbimby, Byron Bay, Bangalow).
There is something so comforting, so reassuring about our family holiday at Bumswick – bookending the year just before the chaos of Christmas. It’s a chance to catch a breath to face the festive season.
It’s an opportunity to reflect on a year almost done – the things that have changed, the things that stay the same.
It’s a precious time to reconnect with family – really connect like you can’t do on scattered days and weekends throughout the year. It’s a chance to renew the soul.
Bumswick is the stuff of childhood memories, made and strung together over the 10,080 minutes, give or take, shared over seven too-short days, linked to all the weeks enjoyed in the years gone by and to all the weeks to come.
These are the memories that thread through life to give it meaning.
Holidays that become family traditions serve as more than just breaks from work and daily life, much more than just rest and relaxation.
Such holidays ground and centre you, reinforcing who you are, where you’ve come from and what really matters – family, and the memories you make together.
Do you have a family holiday tradition?
Would you like to start one?
*Bumswick is what our daughter called the place when she was 2 years old because she couldn’t pronounce it properly – the name stuck.
**With much gratitude to my parents who always ‘shout’ us this annual holiday. Cheers.
Kathy Kruger is an adoptive Mum to two beautiful kids from China. She struggled against the universal flow that brought infertility into her life before having to surrender control in the long and difficult adoption process. Now she is trying to remember those lessons and strive for balance and contentment in life. She blogs at Yin Yang Mother