Grey sky outside my window. Drizzling much of the day. Six weeks ago, I was in the mild sunny heat of Port Douglas, that tourist hellhole way up north on the Queensland coast. For the first time ever, all thirteen of our clan were together for a week: three children, three spouses, five grandchildren (aged three and under), and the two of us. I close my eyes. At the time, the week passed in a blur, but now I realize how magical it was. I sift my memories.
Walking along Four Mile Beach. Flat hard sand. Tiny crabs scuttling. Grandchildren running, squealing with delight.
Dinner around a long table, each couple cooking for all thirteen on one of the seven nights. Laughter. Wine. Tots eating, sometimes not. Slow minutes.
Adults reading to clusters of children, rapt with joy.
A wildlife park. Parrots on shoulders. Grumpy pelicans. Wide eyes of the young.
Being woken by pattering little feet.
Hugs. Hands held. Smiles and smiles and smiles.