With the kids being with their Mum for a few days. I thought it was the perfect time to sit back and reflect on the year and where better to start than with the photos on my phone. It didn’t take long until I was back on a beach in Southern Spain.
Due to my Dad suffering with health issues for much of the kids life’s, we hadn’t had a family holiday before. So, the decision was made. A bit of winter sun.
Having taken the kids away alone many times before, it was lovely to have another adult with me this time. Taking advantage of this and with the boys at the pool with Nannie, the little lady and I grabbed some buckets and spades and headed to the beach.
As any parent of a busy family will tell you, it’s amazing to spend some one on one time with any of your kids. So embracing the moment, we swam, collected shells, built sand castles and dug holes. Basically, doing what anyone else would do, given the opportunity on a Mediterranean beach.
It was during this time that I spotted another Dad spending time with his kid at the beach. But, rather than being involved he sat on his sun-bed, sipping from a can of local beer and smoking cigarettes. His kid seemed happy enough, digging holes, building sand structures and doing normal kid like stuff. However, it did make me feel rather smug with myself.
I was a proper parent, building, digging, laughing and getting sand in places I wont mention.
I took two spades, so that I could be muck about on the beach too.
I was building memories.
Our time on the beach was coming to an end. Tummies had started to gently rumble and we knew it was time for a quick shower, before heading to the local Tapas Bar for dinner. It was as we started to collect together all our bits and bobs that I noticed. Mr ‘lazy’ Dad had raised from his slumber position and headed towards his beach bag. It was also at this point I noticed that he removed his t-shirt to reveal his bronzed six pack. So, quickly grabbing my own t-shirt, I covered my slightly red, Dad bod as rapidly as I could. It was then my smugness disappeared into the abyss completely. He proceeded to pull out of his bag proper digging implements.
Being completely honest I’m not too sure what actually happened next, it all happened so quickly and in a haze.
This bronzed Mediterranean God like creature stood before me, with what can only be described as survival tools. Not only did he produce a shovel. Not a normal beach type spade. A full on, fold-up metal shovel. The type you see, strapped to the side of tanks in museums. He, also produced a pick. The same, metal, fold-up, strapped to tank in a war zone style pick. Somehow, he had gone from beer swilling bad parent, to a tanned Godlike mythical creature, with a full on Bear Grylss survival kit. His beach bag had magically turned into a zombie survival zone duffel bag and his sandcastle soon pushed ours into the shadows.
The morale of this story?
On the short walk back to our room, with the little lady singing on my shoulders, it dawned on me.
Don’t be smug and don’t judge. Just be you and the best parent you can. Oh and next time, go to the beach prepared.