Monday, December 5, 2011

advent and adventures

You'll have to excuse me - I love Christmas - but no matter your feelings about the whole thing, you have to admit that here at the end of the world we are lucky to have a celebration that kicks off weeks of glorious summer: cicadas, melting iceblocks, sticky tar on your bare feet, sand everywhere, salty hair and salty lips, food cooked over hot flame, fish, fruit, new potatoes, children's voices playing as the sun sets, nighttime swims, music festivals, the pop of beer caps and voices in gardens.

But it's been a long year. We really need that seemingly endless summer to start right about now. The kids - all the kids, but I guess I'm speaking about mine in particular - are tired. That long third term means that the whirlwind of end-of-year stuff is squished into 7 weeks - prizegivings, assemblies, end-of-year masses, concerts, performances, picnics and discos.

Last night F (9) and Z (7) were required in the city from 7-8pm to rehearse for GLOW - a carol concert they have sung in for the last 2 years. Whatever your views on carols, shining children's faces singing sweetly is a good thing. Grumpy and underwhelmed by my recently purchased Christmas tree, I decided we would take the family, post-rehearsal, to the Telecom Christmas Tree on Te Wero Island.

Best decision ever. Well, apart from choosing this chap. It was a glorious evening, cooling from a hot day, with a purple and orange sky. We wandered past diners and drinkers at the Viaduct to the quieter Te Wero, last visisted as location of Waka Maori, and sat beneath the tree.

The kids spoke to Santa, several times each. Even B (14) had things to tell him. They leapt on beanbags and disrupted the peace and watched the boats and told tall tales and laughed and laughed and laughed. B busted out her funny voices and had her siblings speechless with laughter.

We were still laughing, celebratory ice creams all consumed, at half past nine when we arrived home to bundle kids into bed and collapse on the couch. A weight lifted by a stroll through our gorgeous city, and by laughter.

Tonight, they're due in the city at 7 pm once more, but this time we'll leave them with their choir companions and musicians while we sneak off to the opening of the Stoneleigh Summer Series - music, wine and great food near the water, a wonderful wander into that waiting time before Christmas, and the holiday that follows.

Best of the season to you and yours.