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Saturday 21 July 2018

Victoria White: Still time to make lifelong summer memories with your children

IT'S very important that I keep up with the crisis affecting the euro. I may not be that great at maths -- when I finally gave up on passing maths in the Leaving, my teacher bared his teeth and roared at me, "Get out of my sight!"

But still, I feel Europe might spin out of control if I don't keep up with the financial news.

Even when I'm on my summer holidays with my four children on Inishbofin Island off the Galway coast.



great

The great thing is, the cottage has internet access. So night after night, I can check up on how those Italians and Spaniards are doing and think of a few tips to give their governments when I'm next talking to them. I was doing just that the other night when my eldest son Jack suggested a last swim.

"I'm going later," I said and got back to sorting out the eurozone.

"All right," he said and swung open the half door of the cottage which gives out on the beach.

And what a beach! A pure white semi-circle of sand, crystal clear water which is turquoise at the edge with patches of dark blue where there's seaweed.

It's all backed by a panorama of mountains that includes Croagh Patrick and the Twelve Bens.

Now you see them, now you don't. The weather changes so often and so fast that the view is always different.

When my eldest swung open the half door I saw the sky was bright yellow and streaked right down the middle with half a rainbow.

If you saw it in a film you wouldn't believe it.

But this isn't a film, it's my life. And it's going to be the only one I'll ever have, at least on this planet.

Even if I have another life, I won't have another family. And even if we are healthy enough and flush enough to go on holiday again next summer, we won't be the same family. The kids will be a whole year older and edging closer to the point when they won't want to go on holiday with us at all.

Up and out the half door. Down the beach after Jack. He was already swimming out to sea but I caught him easily and we swam around a boat together.

It's an amazing feeling swimming with your kid. You're protective, but the very fact that you're swimming together shows your kid is nearly as strong as you.

And one day soon, will be stronger. I felt like a mother seal teaching my young seal to swim away.

He had the biggest smile on his face when we were swimming back to the shore. I said: "You'll always remember this, Jack."

So that's what it's all about, this summer holiday. Making memories for the children. And the way you do that is give them the outdoors, because it's summer. And give them your time.

That's all it's about, whether you're in Marbella or Mullingar.

It's so simple.



memories

But those simple things are the hardest things to give when your whole life is about deadlines and budgets and success and failure.

We're into the last weeks of summer, but the days are still long, at least in Ireland.

There's still time to make summer memories to last the kids, not just through the winter, but through a lifetime.

Memories of being a kid during the summer holidays which is the nearest thing to total freedom they'll ever have in their lives.

We were about to head home and hit the hot chocolate when I saw the curly head of my little daughter bent over something up the beach.

She had made a friend, Emer, a Galway girl with eyes like black cherries.

The girls were so hard at work digging a hole in the sand that they didn't notice me at first.

Then they pretended not to notice me.



Negotiated

I insisted that Roise had to come home because it was nearly night and time for bed.

So they negotiated for a bit and finally my daughter agreed to come with me.

"But Emer's coming to get me the minute she wakes up", explained my daughter. "Because we're going to have to start early if we're going to dig a hole to Australia."

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