It’s one of those places that makes you want to pack up all your bags, throw them into the back of your car and give up big city life. Leaving behind the hustle and bustle of I NEED IT NOW and exchanging it with walks around the farm and occasionally checking your emails. Which even though it sounds appealing, I don’t actually want to do, so going out there and feeling that way is quite notable.
What I do love though, is the winelands. And staying so close to both Stellenbosch and Somerset West meant that we spent most of the weekend exploring what these towns had on offer. From Babylonstoren, to the Lion Park to Vergelegen – we tried to do it all with all three kids in tow and we were pretty successful.
As it turns out, we’ve managed to instill our love for travelling and exploring to our children and the only real complaints that we had to field were the ones demanding that we stop at every coffee shop we saw for something to eat and drink! Which I’ll happily take because I too want to wander inside that coffee shop and drink hot chocolate next to that roaring fire. But only every third coffee shop OK.
Anyway, I’ve realised why little family vacations are so important to me. It’s because our weekends fill up so quickly – with kids parties or braais, family birthdays or places we need to go where there are things that we need to see. Don’t get me wrong – it’s all great and I love going to these things, but when every weekend is full of other people and the weeks are run down with work and stress, then when do we get time to be together as a family unit? Where we aren’t distracted by the anti-social behaviour we often engage in, like watching a movie or reading a book or scrolling through our phones or being separate from each other while we do that thing that we want to do.
Spending time together as a family is so important to me. I don’t just want to be a Mom that goes through the motions. I want to KNOW my children. I want them to run up to me and tell me all about their day (I have never gotten this right but I can still hold onto hope right?), I want to hear about that funny thing their friend said or what makes them laugh. I want to know about that girl who was nasty and how they reacted. I want to listen to them playing (I’ve given up wanting to play with them because Mama needs a break too and with at least one other sibling around for them to play with at any given moment, I feel like that’s OK).
Basically as much as I know I need to be the Mom and discipline accordingly, I also want to be their friend that they can confide in. And that takes a lot of hard work – as much as it seems like it will just happen anyway, it really doesn’t. So I’m hoping that as we try and get away as a family more often, we’ll be strengthening these bonds, growing these relationships and really getting to know each other on a deeper level than their favourite colour.
Besides exploring, we spent this weekend drinking hot chocolate next to fire places, jumping in piles of leaves, reading books, nursing the aches and pains of the oncoming meningitis and loving each other. It was great.