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Ten golden minutes

The summer holidays are almost at an end. Parents all over the island are looking forward to breathing out and getting back to the old routine. Every year since La Gidg started at school it has been a three month long struggle to juggle work and keep her entertained and even (fancy that) try to enjoy the summer myself. I’ve never managed to achieve all three at the same time. And as the heat increases so my patience decreases exponentially.

This year I promised myself, my husband and my little girl that things were going to be different. My strategy? To plan a lot of activities so there was no chance to get bored, and not to work in August. Has it worked? I would say we have an eighty percent success rate. We have not had too many rows or moments where I thought I was going to explode with frustration and Gidg has actually wanted to go to her different activities. At the moment she is learning to sail at the yacht club in Port Andratx (a bit of a bargain at only 70€ for two weeks of lessons) and is loving it. She went to Kip McGrath in Palma as well and had a great time with the other kids making 3D models of cities. We had a great barbecue at home and had lots of adults and children over for the day to eat, drink and play. And we even went on an actual holiday to visit my mum in France, although my PC went with me.

One of the things I wonder about when Gidg and I do things together is how much of the event will she remember when she is older. I think about it a lot to be honest: will this be the thing that sticks in her mind, or will it be something banal to me that I don’t realise is important to her. If I ask her, what is your first memory she replies telling me she remembers being born! But then her next memory is of turning four and her “Princess Party”, but it’s vague. I can clearly remember holidays and events from the summer when I was six years old, so I hope this summer has been special in more ways than one, I think this will be the first year that she will properly recall when she is grown.

This struck me as I was surrounded by children playing in my back garden at dusk at the end of a beautifully sunny August Sunday. The kids weren’t arguing, they weren’t fighting over a Nintendo, they weren’t fixed to the goggle box, instead they were showing each other magic tricks and playing happily together. Their parents all looked on indulgently, with glasses of this or that in their hands, their bellies full from feasting on a successful barbie, smiling and sighing about how lovely everything was. It was perfect, before it all went wrong: somebody was accused of cheating or copying and half of them stomped off to watch a cartoon and the other half complained about things not being fair and the adults had to leap into action to break up the fight, but for that ten golden minutes in the summer of 2012, everyone was happy.

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