last day in holland
my brother screeches; ‘on a dark desert high wayyyy, cool wind in my hai-air …’, i sing along, loudly, out of tune; ‘warm smell of colitas, rising up through the ai-hai-haiaiiar …’ my mother laughs, my dad giggles, and dylan is snorring through the whole thing, deeply asleep in his car seat.
we’re on our way to utrecht, a fun and pretty town in the province of the same name; utrecht (apparently london is as big as it – you realise how small holland is when you’re told that one of its provinces is the same size as london). we were here 2 years ago as well, when my brother was [eventually not] diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma (a terrible story, at first the docs told us all he had cancer only to find out it was glandular fever in the end …). it was great to get back there under happier circumstances, although andy was still missing, of course.
the weather is weird. it’s warm one minute, breezy cold the next, we keep taking our coats on and off and walk into the shopping center by the central station. everyone is in a happy mood, it’s a real connected feeling to be back with my parents and brother. i am almost starting to forget the events from the week before. events in which everyone regressed to their old parent/ child roles and difficult, difficult stuff arose.
we walk into a clothes shop and i pick up some things to try on. i like what i see (for a change) and my mum offers to buy them for me, ‘a late present for your birthday’ she whispers. she is very generous that way, always has been. i enjoy how she is trying to contribute to me and trying to connect. there is a warmth there, with her, that i will never forget.
we break for a coffee (in my case an apple juice, don’t do coffee) and dylbee gets his lunch. we mosey on and it feels familiar, together, warm, happy.
because i had decided that morning that i’d eaten enough unhealthy food in the last 2 weeks, i decline the belgium fries that all 3 of them order, instead i push dylan around some more because he’s getting ‘shouty’, clearly, he doesn’t want to sit in his pram anymore.
bellies full with fries (apart from mine), we carry on and end up in some other shops where goods are examined and then purchased and consumed. the sunny weather has picked up again, i take off my coat once more while i contemplate if i should buy a nice pair of birkenstock’s or not. been thinking about them for years. i like them, but also find them a tad un-elegant. such was indeed, the mundane thinking, yet very very cosy pre-occupation, of the day. ha.
wisely, i decide against the birkenstock’s seeing that they rub against one of my toe knuckles (yes, toes do have knuckles) and knowing full well that i’ll end up in my ugg’s or flip flops again anyway.
dylan is becoming more and more shouty, so i decide to pick him up and carry him on my neck, like a proper toddler. he seems to enjoy it, but most other people’s heart rates in the vicinity pick up some speed with worry for his demise. i, on the other hand, am the mother who will not falter in creating the safest circumstances for her child ever (read; she had him on her neck with her IRON fists around his little arms), and so was not worried but a tad achy around the neck area. i take him down soon after.
dylan decides to protest loudly each time we try putting him back in the pram so we all take turns carrying his 12 kilo heavy body around all the way back to the car.
my dad is teasing my brother and they spend some time in a shop buying cool t-shirts. once again i internally notice how this day makes me feel connected, safe, it reminds me of when we were kids on a happy day out with happy parents, calm, relaxed, connected.
we end our day in a road-side restaurant. the food disappoints, but the giggles remain. we drop my brother off at his house, i buy some ‘krenten bollen’ for dylan in a supermarket while my mum bounces him up and down on her lap once more. my dad sits calmy in the car.
i’m gonna try to remember this day, and only this day, when thinking back of this whole trip in the future.