Time to grow up
Why did Ed look forward to their holidays so much, when they were always so predictable? It would start with the forecast of unending sunshine on the weather app about a week, then day by day with the recognition of ages, he'd watch the clouds and rain drop graphics until only one day of the week,Thursday remained with a sun graphic on the forecast.
When they got there, his eldest - Bryony - spent the whole week re-affirming that she had not asked to be born and staring at her phone, or tutting in disgust at his suggestions that they go to the petting zoo or one of Wales's 9 billion ruined castles.
Dylan - his son and middle child - would spend the week in a wetsuit befriending local kids and loving every minute but with little spare time for the bonding moments Ed fondly dreamed of. His youngest daughter Flavia (named after her Italian maternal grandmother) meanwhile dreamed endlessly of a magical tatty souvenir shop in which one day she'd achieve her lifetime quest of finding anything, a keyring even, with her name on it.
His wife Guilia who had not spent her childhood at the British seaside didn't feel love for rock pooling, sandy shoes and damp salty tee shirts the way he did although she tried mightily. In all, while not disastrous their summers at the seaside never quite matched the heights of the myth Ed had built round his own imagined youthful holidays and it made him unaccountably angry with them all.
On the second morning when Bryony refused to play nicely with her little sister, Ed's veneer of easy-going dadness cracked hopelessly and he shouted at the 14 year old that it was"about time she fucking grew up".
On the second afternoon during a miserable squall Ed sat on the beach. He was moodily building an intricate drainage system for his latest sand castle system when he noticed that Flavia who had been whingeing about getting wet had gone missing.
Within seconds he'd have settled for complacent familial disgruntlement. As panic and desperation seeped through his defences like waves through his sandcastle’s ramparts, he ran the length of the beach kicking small boy's body boards aside in desperation.
Where was Dylan?
Where was Giulia?
Where was fucking Bryony?
Of course if he'd been able to think straight he'd have remembered Dylanwas playing crazy golf with his holiday mates, Giulia had gone back to the cottage for a lie down and Bryony had gone for a misery filled mooch around the shops.
Ed cried out to the coastguards who immediately started a search but it was hours, or at least a full five minutes before, a small girl was spotted upon the shoulders of the weird but harmless old beachcomber guy who was carrying her back to safety from the rockpools.
Ed cried real tears of happiness as Flavia was handed to him and it also struck him that it was fortunate for him that Giulia had not been around. He would never be such an arse about the seaside again he decided.
"oh my brave girl," he declared, hugging his oblivious daughter happily before turning to see his other daughter Bryony who had arrived beside them with studied nonchalance.
in her hand was a gift for her younger sister: a pink plastic unicorn decorated with shells and the name Flavia written upon it in glittery writing.
"you are absolutely brilliant Bryony," said Ed before squeezing her shoulder in the way she would find least embarrassing and turning towards the crazy golf to reunite his family.