I’ve had some pretty amazing nights in my life.
The night I threw a coin over my shoulder into the Trevi fountain in Rome and it fast became my favourite city. Where the sky was black but the buildings were mesmerizingly beautiful, lit up with the most amazing golden light mixed with the blue/green hue from the water. Where I couldn’t hear the noise of the crowds of people standing around, just the fountains splashing water down over the many many coins of good luck sitting hopefully at the bottom of the water.
The warm night on a Maldivian beach with the softest sand I have ever felt between my toes, looking out with a cocktail in hand to an expanse of sea and sky. Taking a walk along the jetty to sit in a swing and watch the fish swim around in the crystal clear waters that were lit up from underneath just as if I was in there with them. Then heading back to the beach villa and not caring a bit about the pouring rain or the gecko friend that had taken a liking to the open air bathroom.
The very late night where we stood at the window of our honeymoon suite looking down over the grounds of Alrewas Hayes. Watching as all the guests departed and said goodbye to the day we could happily live again and again.
The one when Eddy was working a night shift, where I did a pregnancy test alone in the house and had to contain myself and drive to a friends house shaking because it was positive but I couldn’t possibly tell him now, not like this. This night that I spent sleepless and excited to wait until the very next day and tell him face to face that there was going to be another little person joining us.
A very special new years eve, walking outside of the front door like every other year at midnight to watch the fireworks. Only as I welcomed in this new year, I was cradling my everything in my arms. I was introducing my 1 day old brand new baby girl to this brand new year in the very best way, tears rolled down my cheeks at the sheer perfection and life changed forever in that moment.
And the night after our littlest lady came into the world and made it complete, the huge high of seeing Eva become a big sister and in an instant I loved them both more. As I sat in hospital just me and her knowing that this was it, this was the last time I would feel this overwhelming joy of meeting a person and knowing them fully after just a second. Knowing that that night had made my family complete and feeling like my heart would actually physically burst.
This is of course to name but a few.
Some of these nights, some moments you know will be special, they are big moments and huge adventures to treasure always. Yet some, some come as a bolt out of the blue. This summer we went to France for a month and tried to fit in as much adventure as possible. Around Eddy’s work week we travelled and filled our days with excitement whilst still keeping a little bit of normality for our little ladies. There was lots of really lovely moments.
Then one night, after being asked over and over again by the 5 year old to watch the sun set and never quite making it, we decided go to a local beach and do just that. As anyone with young children knows there isn’t much point having expectations of these things so we said we would see how we go. We decided to forgo the routine, the 6.30 bath and the 7pm bedtime, to not worry about tomorrow and just live in the now. To realise that you’re not 1 and 5 for very long (or 31 and 34!), you’re not in France for a month very often and that life is for living right here right now.
We headed down to the beach after dinner and I sat on my camping chair watching as my two little ladies ran around playing football on the sand. We watched as more and more surfers and body boarders ran into the seaweed filled waters and the waves glistened in the evening sun. We wet our feet and dug holes, wrote our names in the sand and retreated as the tide came in chasing us. Everyone was happy, as the sun became low in the sky Eva and Roma were filling buckets with water and ‘jumpy things’ that lived in the sand (they were everywhere in Brittany and I still have no idea what these shrimp like things are) but they liked to catch them in the water to watch them swim and jump right back out again. They played, they laughed, and we laughed.
Finally as we huddled together on the path leading to the beach, no longer with sand in sight and the waves lapping around us, Eva leant over and whispered gently into my ear that this was beautiful. She thanked me for this night over and over again and as I could see the awe in her eyes mixed with the reflection from the orange sun in her pupils I wanted to thank her too. We sat in silence watching the sky turn all shades of orange right in front of our eyes and I watched my whole world in front of mine.
It was utterly perfect. I felt the peace wash over me and tears pricked my eyes. Tears of overwhelming pride for my little ladies, of joy at this night for exactly what it was. A simple moment, a moment that happens every single day unnoticed, but today, a first. Eva’s first sunset, to stop and appreciate the world and share that moment with them, it was spectacularly magical for me too. The sun set on this day. One of the best nights of my life and one that has undoubtedly changed me forever.
Travelling with children, especially young children, can be exhausting and is rarely relaxing but somehow it also makes it extra special just by the mere fact that they are there. They make it worthwhile and for all the tired tantrums and mountains of stuff, I wouldn’t change it for the whole world. Adventure isn’t adventure without them.
It’s hard after all of that to think that any night could be better, could top it, but they just get added to that list. No one trumps the other and no amazing experience washes over the most ordinary. Lots of nights are special, lots of everyday moments are special. Yet every now and then there is that one that gets stored in those best nights of your life memory bank.
I hope to have a million more, for my little ladies to have memories of childhood to treasure whether big adventures or the ordinary everyday.
I hope to give that to them, just as they have given that to me. Without even realising it.
I have no idea who this man is, he walked past as I was taking a photo but I actually love it. Thank you random man on the beach!