Gosh, I didn’t realise that today would be so difficult.

For EVER we have been away over Easter. When our boys came into our lives it was just a given that we spent that time with their grandparents. We have quite literally never been in our own home over the Easter period. Earlier days it was spent with my parents, at their home in Clunes because that’s where we were living, but circumstances change including a very null Easter in 2005 when we buried my mum the Thursday before Good Friday. The town looked after the boys that year… such a blur. After that Easter we then started travelling to Koondrook to spend the time up there with Ben’s folks. They had an on-site van in the local Caravan Park, so we spent our time with them.

Then 13 years ago we started camping with my sister and a heap of friends and family, and that’s what we have done each and every year since, all be it that the people we camp with has changed. It’s a ritual for us.

Our first camp at Milverton Bend on the Gunbower Island.
All these kids are adults or about to be adults.

Staring at the boat in the driveway today, parked up, still empty, nothing packed and I’m WFH, there’s no fridge packed, no camp kitchen prepped, and I’m left wondering, “how is this weekend going to pan out?” Right now, Ben should be in the shower not long home from work, last minute things being put into the boat and Patrol, and we’d be on the road to navigate through the endless Easter traffic.

Not his year though. I never thought we would ever see such restrictions laid down on us. For good reason I agree, and this post isn’t about the crappy Covid-19, but more about how I can navigate this Easter break positively. This Easter will be a new experience for our little family.

Camping is a crazy concept. Packing your entire house into a boat and car and heaving it hundreds of kilometers across the state to set it all up and live in the dirt for a short while, then, pack it all up. Yeah it’s a mammoth effort, but the benefits of it are more than just getting out of the suburbs. It starts with the scenery on the way there. Sunsets, burn-offs and sometimes full moons depending on the time of day we leave. It’s the stops at the little towns takeaway places for something to eat, a coffee or toilet break. It’s the expected intersection tin shakers for the Good Friday Appeal, and a warm thank you, smile and chocolate egg from a local CFA Fiery holding the tin. It all counts to the three or four hour trip to our beloved Murray River.

It’s reconnecting to your kids. No electronics. Just humans… and dogs! It’s forcing them to stop, and to take a break from their normal. It’s me cramming together a trivia/treasure hunt which keeps the kids, and I am talking adult kids, busy for the best part of an entire day. They have to be creative, think sideways and get smart about whats around them. They explore, and get dirty and without even realising it, they have fun. I love that part of the trip, and I know they do too.

If you just stop and look around you, you can find the most amazing signs.

It’s refocusing on the simple things like planning and prepping a meal, baking bread or scones, and building a fire to cook it all. Doing a wood run with the kids, and starting a fire, feeling the warmth of if it on your face deep into the night, with whiskey in my tum and the cold air on my back; then appreciating that the switch for the heater and lighting a stove at home is a privilege, and very comfortable.

It’s watching the moon rise every single Easter, slicing the inky blackness, breaking through the trees and high into the sky lighting up the bush around you. Hearing the world surrounding you come alive in the night.

So while we aren’t up the river doing our normal thing; eating, drinking, fishing, sleeping, relaxing, reading, chatting and connecting, I am quietly excited as to what this Easter will be. It might consist of a couple of video linked ciders for liquor-time and a mandatory egg hunt for my now adult kids, and definitely a roast on Sunday, and perhaps even a pissy-pasta night Saturday night? Who knows? But what I do know is, I’ll be ready and waiting to pack the car and boat when this is all over and we get back to some kind of normal. And, I am positive this year, 2020 is one we will talk about like they do the depression, and how it turned our small lives upside down. The view from upside down ain’t so bad… it’s just perspective right?

Make sure you turn the teapot twice clockwise and once anticlockwise!

Nom