This weekend we finished our half term with a visit to the lovely English seaside. Joe’s mum and dad have a caravan on a quiet farmer’s field a short drive away from Scarborough, Filey and Whitby and so we go often to stay for the night and let Liv run around on the beaches of the different seaside towns.
I was, as usual, snap happy. My phone clicked-clicked away at every opportunity, storing hundreds of special memories for me to sift though and undoubtedly upload to some form of social media platform later. Even as I flicked through at the time I recall thinking that this one or that one would look great with an Instagram filter on it.
This afternoon I did just that, we crashed on to the sofa and I sat with my phone in my hand and sifted through the photos I had taken. Photos of Liv laughing on the beach, photos of her and I hand in hand, her kissing Joe on the bright rides in the arcades, ones of us laughing about something and nothing as we walked down to Peasholm Park. The photos are gorgeous. Snapshots of a perfect little break, a perfect time.
What I didn’t take pictures of were the other times, the times that aren’t photograph worthy, the bits that I would rather not remember. For example, the time where she threw bits of her dinner on the floor and refused to sit down, that wasn’t great. The time on Friday night after a long day on the beach where we drove round for over an hour while she screamed and shouted at us, crying for toys she had refused to bring rather than go to sleep. Yeah, I’d rather not remember that. Oh and the bit where it was getting to near ten o’clock and I was texting my mum ninety miles away that I had had enough, that I was exhausted and angry and that I didn’t know what I was doing wrong, not one for the memory book either.
Like I said earlier, we genuinely have had a brilliant time. The sun has shone, we have eaten vinegar soaked fish and chips and laughed and cuddled and enjoyed each other’s company. I’d say 95% of our time has been amazing, but the 5% that hasn’t can really get you down.
Social media can paint a picture that someone’s life is flawless, and skipping through those pictures in a few years time maybe that is how I’ll remember it, rosy coloured, happy and hazy. But when I’m having a bad day, and she’s throwing an epic tantrum and I see someone’s similar album it is easy to sit and wonder why their life appears so much better, so much easier than my own. You can put an Instagram filter on a picture and leave it for the world to see, but you can’t put one on real life.
Despite this, my weekend was actually perfect. It was perfect because it was perfectly normal.
No child behaves impeccably 24/7 or they wouldn’t be children, and even though it’s stressful and sometimes soul destroying to wonder what I am doing wrong when there are tears and shouting and cleanched toddler fists, it is perfect because it’s mine. From now on I’m going to attempt and embrace the bad as well as the good, because it is what makes it real.
(Mum please don’t quote me on this when I phone you crying again because she’s a nightmare!)