It’s Father’s Day. We head to the car with a picnic basket. We’re going to the river.
“I hope we get a picnic table,” I say. “Maybe everyone will be celebrating Father’s Day at the river.” But they’re not. When we arrive at the riverside park, it’s almost deserted. Two families and us.
“Happy Father’s Day!” we shout. My husband Andy grins. Then we devour fresh bread rolls stuffed with ham and cheese. We enjoy coffee poured from silver thermos flasks into china mugs.
When there is nothing left but crumbs, I say, “Time for a walk!”
Andy takes the picnic basket back to the car and then we turn in the direction of the river.
“Dad, we’ll show you the history signboards,” says Charlotte. “You can read all about the Germans who were interned here during World War 1.”
“They built huts and villas and boats and all kinds of things,” says Gemma-Rose. And then she adds quickly, just in case Andy is expecting to see them, “But that was years ago. Now there’s nothing left. You’ll have to use your imagination.”
“Dad, do you want to see where we filmed Imogen’s last music video?” asks Sophie.
“You can help us decide where to film the next one,” says Imogen.
Soon we’re spread out along the dirt path that runs parallel to the slowly flowing river. I snap photos of five strolling people and one pulling dog.
“Do you like this spot?” asks Imogen. She stands on a rock close to the water. Sophie and I aim our cameras in her direction. Snap! Snap!
“Let’s take a look down there,” says Andy pointing to a side track.
Gemma-Rose and Imogen run ahead. Soon they’re clambering over rocks.
Sophie looks around and says, “This might make a good video location. It would be easy to set up the cameras here.” The ground is flat.
“You’d capture the river in the background,” I say. “And those wattles are adding a splash of golden colour.”
Imogen dives into her bag and extracts her ideas book. She jots down a few notes. Sophie takes some photos. And then we head back to the main path.
A few moments later, we arrive at history sign number 9.
“Look up there, Dad. Can you see those stones? They’re the foundation stones of one of the German villas.”
“Let’s show Dad the steps.”
We climb up a gently sloping hill.
“This is where Imogen stood when we filmed the song Yesterday,” says Gemma-Rose.
Andy stands on the foundation stones. He walks up and down the steps. He imagines us filming a music video here in the bush.
“It was very cold while we were filming, Dad.”
“The sun rose in that direction,” says Sophie pointing through the trees. “We only just finished filming before we lost the good light.”
“There was no one here but us.”
“Except for that friendly dog who came to see what we were doing.”
And while Andy looks around and imagines, I think, We do so many things that he doesn’t really know about. Yes, my husband goes off to work around 6.30 am every day, returning almost twelve hours later. And what do we do while he is gone? We have adventures without him.
But on Wednesday, when Andy watches Imogen’s latest music video on Youtube, he’ll be able to say, “I stood on those steps. I know where they are.” He’ll feel part of the adventure.
We couldn’t have any adventures without Andy. He gives us the financial means to live a free life, to do whatever we like. He doesn’t ask us to account for how we spend our time, or spend the family money. He never doubts the girls are learning. He never questions what I do with them when he isn’t around. He trusts.
“You’re so fortunate,” I hear some people say. “Not everyone can stay home and live an unschooling life like yours.”
And what do I reply?
I say, “You are so right. I am extremely grateful.”
Here’s the Yesterday video!