Our trip away..together.
The 3 Fijnekam males and I.
Pa ( opaopa) turned 79.
What to get someone of his age??
Something that is of value to him - TIME!
A holiday destination was easily chosen ( secretly). Zoutelande, a place in Zeeland where the Fijnekam family spend many a summer together. We elected to go for 2 days and one night. Pa wasn't a hotel frequenter at all ( up until then) and due to his needs ( he uses a catheter on a regular basis during the day and with strict timing and hygiene) so we wanted to gently try out our idea - to take him on annual holidays - to places he himself hadn't visited. And for long weekends. So we started gently in Zoutelande.
Needless to say, it was a huge success. Pa LOVED the surprise and a whole new world opened up for him. And our reward- a hugely warm feeling of thankfulness and joy. How wonderful we have the opportunity to share, create lovely memories, but most of all - care for pa and enjoy his company while we are rich enough to have him with us.
To date: after Zoutelande, Volendam, Harlingen, Lemiers-Limburg, Park Hoge Veluwe- Hoenderloo, Zandvoort and 2012: Egmond aan Zee.
All these places had a special meaning for pa. We surprised him each time, getting in the car and not telling where we were heading. Half the fun really! For example - pa hadn't been to Limburg since he was 18 or 19. On his return there he was 82. Youthful memories revisited. Leen and Arie have got to know their dad even more personally now - with all those special memories shared.The weather also played the game and behaved in the most co-operative manner, we have not had a rained out weekend yet!
Leen and I had spent a long weekend in Egmond aan Zee last year with friends. We thought the location was ideal for pa. He can't walk far, loves the sea and especially boats. We decided on a unit this time instead of hotel rooms. And boy was our weekend a success. Beyond all expectations.
The first thing pa organises when we give him a date for our weekend away is his binoculars. I remember what mum's first thing was that went into the boot of the car before she visited; her sewing machine! Funny, memories, they pop up willy nilly. A warm bath feeling. Anyway, a week or two before we leave we inform pa not to make any appointments for that particular time. Then he starts " fishing". He thinks we aren't clued up....hahaha! Small, sneaky comments hoping we tumble in to them. We DON'T!
During our time away I take numerous photos. Knowing pa doesn't get around much in cold weather I make photo albums for him to keep him warm in the winter- reliving the experience. He has quite a library of them now. The latest one already made and ordered.
Having a unit instead of a hotel room, we had more time together and also spent more relaxed time this way. I had organised plenty of yummy breakfast food which we enjoyed at leisure. Also having a wee lounge area gave us opportunity to " hang about" in a relaxed more personal way that in a hotel lounge.
Funny, we started organising these weekends for pa - and I think we look forward to them as much as he does.
I truly value these weekends and hope we are able to enjoy may more in the years to come.