It's been a busy long week, a good, busy week, but for 4 days, I didn't stop for breath. Kindness came in huge waves. My mother took control of my credit card and shopped, Grandpa Peter cycled, threw cricket balls, hit golf balls and played board games with Freddie and Rich spent a busy crazy day at Captain Kid picking, folding, packing and dealing with delivery men. And finally, my washing machine broke..
However as paybacks come, this weekend didn't fail. We were down at Hayling Island for both Tera and 29er racing and we had wall to wall sunshine. Rich and Kathryn were looking after the 29er boys, so I only had William to focus on.
William and I are both fairly relaxed characters, possibly not the best combination at an event, so we both quite surprised ourselves as we found ourselves one of the first to set the boat down ready on the beach. We both took a moment, I slipped my shoes off and wriggled my toes in the sand. It was glorious. The sun glistened on the water and my spirits soared. Last time I was on this beach we were gripping onto boats as they flew across the beach in wild winter winds. This felt a million miles away.
Time pressed on and I sent William to get changed and I waited by the Tally board. I listened as the radio crackled. Just Tally 130 missing. "Sorry" I said, "Could I just check which child that relates to". "Oh yes" the reply came, " It's William, 2162. Do you know him?". A cough, a shuffle. "Yes he's my son, I don't suppose you could check the gents for me please?".
No sign of William anywhere. I found myself telling the story of how we were one of the first on the beach and that we weren't normally that unreliable. A search ensued, safety started scouring the beach only to find him sitting nonchalantly on his boat asking where I'd been. Mortified, I apologised and sloped off.
I launched him and sent him off for the day with his chocolate bars and squash for sustainance, every little boy's dream menu.
He had a great day on the water, but was nearer the back of the fleet. He turtled on the start line of the last race and he found the waves challenging. Over a fish and chip supper on the beach I bribed him with monetary reward for better races on the second day. Shameful you may think, but each child ticks differently. William's a charmer but he isn't a merit chaser at school, nor a people pleaser so I find a little incentive can change his perspective on things.
Sunday dawned and we were not going to make the mistake of the previous day so we both tallied out (130) and sat ready on the beach. I took my shoes off and paddled in the water and chatted with the safety boat. William focused and a raced hard and had a great set of results. We high fived, he posed for photos and we merrily dragged the boat up the beach and washed it down and started to pack it down for the journey home.
William was full of stories from the water, his own personal war stories if you like. I checked his goodie bag. Only 1 remaining melted Wispa and no juice. He'd been wise enough to take care of himself. A good day I think.
Someone tapped me on the shoulder. "Excuse me". I turned round. My heart sunk. It was the safety team. "Are you tally 130 young man?" "You are our missing tally." Profuse apologies flowed. Mortified, totally mortified.
"William", "Yes mum". " Let's get an ice cream".