Where memories are made

Written by Amanda Coop

TEN kids, a birthday party full of sugary treats and a queen-sized air bed. What could possibly go

Fast-forward to me lying down many hours later on said air bed, and I’m sure you can imagine what had gone wrong.

“Shhhh,” I said to the kids. “Listen … I think the air bed’s leaking.”

Miss 9, Mr 6 and I were staying at my sister’s and brother-in-law’s house for my nephew’s 8th birthday. Mr 6 and I had the air bed while Miss 9 was on a mattress nearby.

We lay in silence. There was a distinct whooshing sound coming from the bed.

“There,” I said. “It’s leaking.” I pulled back the sheet and identified a rather large hole. Looking pointedly at Mr 6, I sighed.

He started crying.

“Don’t make me pay for it,” he said pleadingly, referring to my earlier threat that if he popped the air bed, the money for a replacement would come out of his pocket money.

“Well, I can’t make you pay for it,” I told him. “Everyone was on it.”

“Everyone except the girls,” Miss 9 pointed out both smugly and, unfortunately, truthfully.

It was 10.30pm. We were all bone-tired because the kids had risen early with their excited birthday-boy cousin. The birthday boy was in his room, my sister doing the same as me and trying to get
him to wind down. My newest nephew, her second son, was only six weeks old so if anyone knew the definition of tired it was her and I felt awful breaking the news that we would need to come up
with another sleeping arrangement.

As we dragged our tired bodies around and the boys argued about whose fault it was, we still couldn’t help but have a bit of a laugh. The kids had been told ad nauseam to stay off the air bed so the outcome had been sadly predictable. Mr 6 informed us that the guests couldn’t resist the air bed because it was like having a trampoline. “There is an actual trampoline outside!” I told them in

We finally got the kids to sleep and then little Mr Six Weeks woke for his next feed. I decided to ignore my drooping eyelids and keep my little sis company just as she’d done almost a decade
before when I had Miss 9.

Even though I missed my bed (and my husband and our pets), home to me is not just a building. The people and the memories with which we fill those buildings truly define what it means to
be home. The chaos of our family gettogethers never overrides our desire to be together again and the events that are frustrating at the time are fodder for future laughs.

Tonight, back at my home, I’m glad to see my hubby, who’d stayed behind to work. I’ll appreciate the comfort that comes with being back in familiar surroundings and my own bed. But I’ll also be thinking of my sister and my sweet little nephew, and wondering how many times their slumber will be interrupted. As they say, home is where the heart is. My heart is very much here with my immediate family, and spread out across the kilometres that separate me from our extended family.
I’m extremely grateful that we all occupy the same state and have not been separated as those who live apart in different states or countries have been in the past year.

Our track record isn’t great on air beds (that was the third), but thankfully our bond isn’t so easily broken.