Written by: Iza Lamik

Well, we went on vacation. A family trip, just the little one, Maciej and me. The cats were left under the watchful care of my sister. And so, with joy in our hearts and smiles on our lips we packed our car and set off. After about thirty minutes we finally got out of our neighborhood, now only four more and in an hour or so we should reach the highway. From there, only five hours of driving and we will be at the seaside. Oh well, with our positive attitude and record level of desperate longing for free and lazy days, nothing will be able to spoil our vacation, be it traffic jams or terrible roads, even if they have more holes than asphalt ;-)

Fortunately it was not as bad as we expected. Even though this was on a Friday, the traffic jams were bearable and we kept moving forward. It seemed that most of the capital's busy bees decided to start their holidays earlier, so we were on our way and soon enough we were speeding North to show our offspring the "Beautiful Polish Sea". The young one did not quite want to give credence to her parents' assurances that the beach is simply the largest sandpit she ever saw, and we could not wait to see her eyes open wide when she finally took in that majestic sight. I think it goes without saying that our child loves to sit in the sand and pour it from one cup to the other, and then into a bucket and back again. In between these pouring sessions she serves ice cream in colorful plastic cones, offering completely unimaginable flavors, like leaf-sticks or cotton-rain. Of course they all look identical, but all adults should avoid mistaking them at all cost, otherwise they will have to listen to a looooong lecture (as long as a trip to the seaside) on the production of these ice cream... I believe that many people look in search of rest and relaxation drive to the sea resorts in the hope that their children, having access to this plentiful bounty of sand, buckets, shovels and cups, will take care of themselves and give the parents some slack. Because that's exactly what we had in mind, and that's why we persistently and happily galloped towards the sea. In total, on the way we stopped only eleven times, to pee, to almost throw up, to pee again, then because she's hungry and uncomfortable, then to pee once more (I started to miss the time she wore diapers), and finally simply to refuel the car, so that we could cruise the coast without worrying about finding a gas station. 

Finally - we've done it! We arrived, mission completed, finito, the car is on a break, we're on a break, the child turns off, everyone is happy, in my dreams a drink pours itself and drifts towards me magically every time I call, the book reads itself, even the wind is on my services and blows lightly only when I get a little too warm;-) I like to let my imagination run wild like that... But let's get back to earth. The place we stayed at looked straight out of a fairy tale. A very wise man took care of every detail, so there were deckchairs, mugs, a bath as big as a swimming pool, a terrace to lounge in the evenings, a wooden playground just behind the bush, a lot of sand (who needs a beach when there's already a cool sandpit here?). There was something else parked in the middle of the playground. Well, the same clever man who arranged everything here, set up a trampoline right there, actually two trampolines! Again he showed some impressive thinking, because the trampolines were not mounted on racks like they usually are, instead they were on the ground level, because pits were dug under them, so falling out of the trampoline was definitely less dangerous. And so our kid was completely enthralled, it turns out that children run like dynamos... only vertical ones... you know... the higher they jump, the more energy they have ;-)

In addition, one of the trampolines was so large even adults could have fun there, and so my husband was out of my mind as well. My holidays were taking very real shapes, they were really happening!

After all this initial fun we decided to finally move right to the main attraction, the sea. We had to walk for a significant bit to the nearest beach entrance. We deliberately chose this place, secretly hoping that a long way to the beach would discourage all the sunbathers who have a different attitude towards vacationing than us. We really like people, but it's best if they are really quiet and you can not see them ;-)

For real though, all our expectations have come true, thanks to the fact that the road to the beach was quite long, we rarely met anyone while walking through a beautiful, fragrant coniferous forest. Our child is an avid hiker, so she bravely trotted over the hills and listening to the sound of water from a distance, she stopped - flabbergasted - on top of the dune. We figured she must have seen the sea. She stood there for a long moment, alone, because we stayed behind to give her some space. She stood and watched without moving an inch. Finally she turned to us and with a wide smile, her eyes open as wide as a three-year-old can open them, she cried: MOM, THERE'S A SEA RIGHT THERE!!!!!! There was such an absolute delight in her voice and eyes that I choked back tears. The memory of the moment when my child saw the sea for the first time and felt overwhelmed with glee, that's a snapshot you want to carry with you always, to the end. This kind of emotional sensitivity that children have at their disposal should be contagious, it's a treasure that must be cherished like nothing else. I would much rather prefer my child stopped wishing our neighbors a good day than for her to lose this ability to experience such profound delight... Of course life has it's way of sorting itself out, so sometimes she's polite to the neighbors, but from that moment one of my missions in life is to take care of my child's emotions. So that she can always say exactly what she feels, that she can name her feelings, that likes and is able to express what is really in her heart.

Later on it got even better, because it turned out that this infinite amount of sand is a dream come true, that the water in which you can wade in is so cold that no one dipped more than a few fingers. This, in turn, guarantees that your child is much less likely to swim to Sweden ;-) so the parents can rest easy. Only the wind denied to cooperate and blew like crazy, blowing everything over, as if it was the funniest joke in the world... But maybe that's good, because otherwise I would have nothing to complain about ;-)

We repeated this ritual every day, in the morning: trampoline, breakfast, trampoline, a walk to the sea, sand, sand, sand, running on the shore of the water, sand, sand, sand, walk home. During the walk back the child powered down completely and slept in a sling on my back. Luckily, I started diligently taking care of my spine every day, otherwise I would not be able to carry this precious load. After all, the child weighs a bit at this point, even more when she's fast asleep. At the end of the walk, I heard a whisper in my ear: "Mommy, can eat some fish from the gentleman there?" So we ate. And it was delicious ;-). In the evening all that was left to do was to have some ice cream along the way and then trampoline, trampoline, trampoline, and bang - it's nighttime. Ten idyllic holiday days flew by in this regular rhythm, like the scherzo of a Schostakovich piano quintet (I always wanted to use this comparison;-)) and before we knew it we had to get back in the car and roll back across half of Poland. After all, at home the cats are waiting...

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