This is a weird thought I’ve had during this week while in Borth.
We visit Borth every year, thanks to the generosity of my dad and step mum who own a caravan there. I love Borth. I love Borth because I went there for two, or maybe three, years running as a child and teenager in the 1980s. I went with my mum and grandparents and we stayed in a tiny cottage on the main road called Myfanwy. That cottage is still there. I would love to see inside it again. I have such lovely memories of those holidays: spending hours in the sea; sitting in the window reading library books; foreseeing a future of me and a handsome young man walking hand in hand along the beach; browsing the old, dusty seaside shops. I also remember the smell of bacon in the morning, my grandma sitting on the stones in her deckchair sipping tea and the Laura Ashely decor in the cottage which we all admired so much.
The last time I’d been in Borth before I returned as an adult I was 14 years old. I didn’t return for 21 years. I’ve now been with my two then three children every summer for the last eight years. Borth is currently firmly in my children’s childhood memory bank, in fact it is more firmly in theirs than it ever was in mine.
Nostalgia is a strange emotion: warm and melancholy at the same time. My strange thought is about future nostalgia not current nostalgia. I can deal with the nostalgia I feel for my time in Borth as a child. But if I imagine myself in years to come, an elderly lady, revisiting Borth I feel deep sadness. I don’t like the image. Because in that future my children have grown up and they no longer live with me. So I see myself in Borth alone and remembering bringing them. For all the complaining and sighing I do at the moment about how tiring parenthood is, I can’t envisage the end of it without feeling deeply sad. I don’t like the idea of sitting on the sea front with the echo of their voices.
I don’t want to be an old lady sitting on the beach in Borth with tears in her eyes remembering carrying her middle son over the stones while six months pregnant because he didn’t like them or watching her three sons skimming stones very badly on the shore line. I need someone to reassure me that if I become that person in 30 years time that I won’t have that moment, or if I do, it won’t be sad.
I would like to think that I will return and that Borth won’t have changed much as it hasn’t since the 1980s. Perhaps even my children will return as old men and remember how badly they skimmed stones.