How could I not try to create equally awesome memories for my own kids? Enter the yearly tradition to go to the Belgian seaside.
Don’t know when and how we got to decide this was a good idea, but it was. In 2005 my daughter was 2 years old and my friend’s godchild was half a year older. We rented a small apartment right next to the beach. The owner warned us to be very careful with the keys and how not to lose them… in vain… already with bringing our luggage upstairs with the elevator I dropped the keys and they fell into the shaft. It was an expensive start of the trip… Next to that incident it went pretty well, even with them being so small, or maybe BECAUSE they were so small. Honestly, what do they need? Water and sand, some food now and then and afternoon naps. Even sleeping with us in a king size bed was not a problem. Although we found my daughter tucked in neatly in my handbag during the night. She must have turned and rolled into a better position.
In 2006 my family grew a bit with my son being born earlier that year. We took a not so good decision to invite some more friends with kids to the trip. And asif everything was against us, it was wet and cold, and the place we stayed in resembled more a uninviting “haunted” house than a guesthouse at the seaside. That last problem was mainly because some people didn’t want to spend a bit more money to have something decent. Never again we said to ourselves.
2007 we made the same mistake. How is it possible?!?!?! My dear, sweet friend was not able to lie nor say “no” when the other friends asked if we would be going back to the seaside this year and if they could join. Although the accommodation was brilliant this time (Coqisserie) – we were firm on this – the company started to get on our nerves even more… It bothered the hell out of us that one person only took care of her own kid, whereas the rest of us divided and conquered. While one is cooking or getting a take away, the other is washing the kids. We think it is normal and efficient, but not all of us apparently. I really had it when we were packing the drinks, fruit and cookies for the daytrip. We make sure that each kid gets the same, all equal, regardless if we gave birth to them or not. One mum had apparently a different point of view and snatched stuff to ensure her kid had more. WTF!!! It got to a boiling point when one of the other kids got accused of something her kid did. There were many other things which were annoying like putting the lights on at 5:30 am to see if it was time to get out of bed… When the kids are starting to make some noises it will be time to get up… we are on holiday for f**k sake. Later on I heard the trip back home was not as funny for them as for us. Her kid had a 3 hour tantrum in the back seat, through the traffic jams, all the way back, kicking and screaming. Karma exists.
Anyway in 2008 there were strict entry criteria for anyone joining and we stayed again at the cosy Coqisserie with its brilliant breakfast. Throughout the years to come we took along the second godchild of my friend and tried out different accommodations as our kids grew. Every year my friend was laughing at me when I got all excited when reaching the highway exit for our destination, when I started reminiscing of the good old times and what I used to do when I went with my family to the seaside.
We had some traditions of renting go carts and have the kids drive through the central park of the beach town, going to the theme park Plopsa De Panne on the last day, have breakfast in that cosy place, looking for shells, jumping the waves, walking through the dunes, eating ice cream… We laughed a lot and were taught patience when one of our kids had a tantrum. Apparently it rotated each year to another kid… must have been hormonal. By 2016, the oldest ones were nicely in the early stages of their puberty and I was tired and about to be diagnosed with a relapse of my disease. It was getting a bit too much for me and we decided to call it quits. What a pity…