Last outing

Last outing—The Shoemaker's Daughter (A memoir of days by Rhonda Mason)

It is the Saturday before Lewis’ induction date.

We head out sometime after ten—the six (seven?) of us packed into the Disco.

The sky is grey, and it is cold and rainy. Inside the car, we are listening to New Boys Restart.

We drive down to Botany and stop for fuel. We answer Aunty Jess’ phone and tell her where we are going: The Early Start Discovery Space in Wollongong!

It takes us about two hours to get there; we arrive just after quarter past one. The boys are very excited. We park quickly and walk over to the building. The three big boys and I snap a few obligatory selfies.

First, we eat. We stop by the cafe and order mini hot dogs, sweet potato chips, sandwiches, and coffee. We chat excitedly about all the fun in store for us. The boys wish we arrived earlier. Rick and I reassure them they’ll still have more than two hours of play.

We buy our tickets and check our belongings into a locker. It’s a lot warmer inside so we shed our sweaters and hoodies. The boys disappear into The Cave, along with a number of other kids. I sit outside listening to the shrieks of laughter. Moments later, the boys emerge, all ready for the next adventure.

For the next couple of hours, we weave our way through all the different activities the Discovery Space has to offer: the tummy tour, the shipyard, the marketplace, the construction zone, and the lights and sound station. There’s also a music area and a dress-up box. It is particularly amusing seeing Angus morph into a carrot while James and Bear transform themselves into cute little cows.

As the afternoon draws to a close, we head out to the garden where the boys run and jump around to their hearts’ delight. Rick and I buy a coffee each—a much-anticipated reward for our whirlwind afternoon.

Before leaving, we retrieve our things from the locker and pull our sweaters and hoodies back on. Outside on the ramp, I ask Rick to snap some photos of me with the boys. The five of us look very happy and content in these photos: them all ruddy and gorgeous with their hoodies, shorts, and sneakers; me smiling and ready to burst with my favourite black sweater, maternity capri pants, and Oxford flats.

Rick carries Bear back to the car while the others run ahead. I walk behind Rick and watch Bear’s face. He is radiant with joy. For three years, he has been my littlest but, in three days’ time, he will become a big brother.

We drive back home in the rain, giving thanks for our last outing as a family of six…

  • Kirsty said:

    Congratulations. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful cusp time in your family's life. The wonder and joy of a new baby nearly out in the world is so special!

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