Mother’s Day weekend we spent rock climbing with friends and freezing in our tent. While we had fun, it was a bit tiring for a weekend, but I was happy being surrounded by friends and enjoying the outdoors with Cedar and Sean. I was surprised when Sean told me, “I’m going to treat you to a Mother’s Day make up, since we didn’t do anything too special on the real day.” Not one to deny a treat, I quickly agreed.
Sean had recalled my comment from months before of “If you ever want to treat me, you can take me to Forresters Arm for a night.” So off we went into the mountains of Swaziland. The air is cool. The fires are cozy. The beds are to collapse in. And the food is enough to gorge yourself on.
Three things I love about this place. 1. Wifi. 2. Dinner and breakfast incuded. 3. It’s away.
I’ll start from the bottom. It’s away. We have found that it’s incredibly and increasingly difficult for us to relax, rejuvenate and connect as a family while staying at home. A lovely hazard of communal living, but still a hazard. Our greatest solution is to be away from home on the days we need some time to ourselves. Forresters’ Arm isn’t so far we have to travel all day, but it’s far enough away that we can’t easily be interrupted.
Dinner and breakfast included. As a special treat for Swazi residents, the owner adds dinner into the discounted price for locals. This is no chintzy dinner. They have a set menu with 2 appetizers, 4 mains, and 2 desserts. All the portion sizes are small, so you could literally have a taste of them all if you like and your stomach can manage. Plus, there’s divinely baked breads and home-presserved jams, veggies and fruits to enjoy. Their dinner is one to linger over. Open a bottle of wine. Stay for tea and coffee. Relax. Take your time. Your seat is yours for the night and you’re invited to be there for so long.
Wifi. No, it’s not because I can just check my email while I’m away. But wifi means several treats. Streaming yoga classes for my body and spirit (a luxury African internet does not often allow me) and the use of our Baby Cloud Monitor. We feed Cedar dinner, tuck her into her luxurious duvet and crib, set the monitor (that uses wifi!), lock the door, and bounce 100 meters to the restaurant. On this Mother’s Day get away, we did just that. Sitting in the restaurant with audio and video to watch our sleeping peanut, while we went on a date. A real date.
Rare are the evenings we get to go out since Cedar’s birth. It’s not that we don’t want to leave her, but that babysitters are limited and places to go within 30 minutes’ drive after 7pm are also very limited. So rare is the evening date. Rare and luxurious.
On this evening, the wine was uncorked. We lingered over an appetizer of salmon slivers on toasted ciabatta slices with cream cheese and herb; spiced lamb curry with fried veggie slices; vegetarian lasagna with feta; plus a dessert of homemade orange ice cream and fluffy chocolate cake. The tea was warm. The lighting low. The conversation hushed. The times good. After leaving the lounge where we’d had our final drink, this tired momma slunk down the rock path to that cozy bed and drifted off.
That afternoon, prior to our delightful dinner, we had planned to take advantage of some other fun things Forresters’ has to offer – babysitter & a horseback ride. With babysitters on staff, we planned to leave Cedar for an hour and head out on horseback to trot around the forest. Alas, our horse plans were thwarted, but a tandem bike enticed us. A tandem bike that originated circa 1971. . .and had a broken seat. . . and only one gear.
It wasn’t past the first speed hump that I went hurtling off the seat, cackling in disbelief as the rear seat had tipped back & dumped me plum off! I climbed back on, righting the seat and trying to sit forward to prevent the seat’s nose from jutting skyward again. No such luck! Sean did the jiggle and wiggle test, but didn’t have any tools, so we decided, “We would keep going,” because to return for tools would mean an utter delay. Plus, I’m always up for a challenge.
Sean switched with me, so I could steer from up front. Steer us I did – straight into the azalea bush 2 feet away. hah! Well, that wasn’t working, so back to our original posts we went.
We made it to the main road and headed uphill. Now, dear friends, I am essentially riding a fireman’s pole. A fireman’s pole. Uphill. While clutching desperately to the handle bars and laughing too hard to care if I’ve peed myself or not. After breathless protests of “No! Really! Stop! I’m going to fall off. I’m falling off!” I surrendered my unheeded shouts & deftly (it actually was deft, which is a stroke of luck if you know me) hopped off the back of the bike. Sean promptly halted the fireman’s pole and we drug that 30 pound beast to the side of the road and collapsed in laughter.
How ridiculous is this?
How much did we pay to rent this bike?
Seriously. I couldn’t hold on any longer.
I just need something to wedge underneath it.
Our search for the perfect rock ended in finding the multi-purpose water bottle. Tilting the seat slightly more forward than “normal”, we wedged the Klean Kanteen (love these guys!) between the underside of the seat and the bike’s frame. When I plopped my derriere down upon the seat, lo and behold, it stayed! Off we went again. Now I could rest my hands on the handle bars. .. and my feet on the peddles. Let’s be honest, a one-speed tandem bicycle who weighs 30 lbs is not for the mildly in shape mother. That is why I married a-beast-of-a-man who proceeded to haul my behind around town.
We walked up hills (we’re not crazy!), coasted down hills, laughed and got greeted by the neighborhood watch who welcomed us to his neighborhood. We sipped water from the bottle/seat and snapped pictures that my WordPress won’t let me upload. With a glance at our watches, we did an about face and headed back to our daughter dear, a warm bath, and playing on the grass.
The rest of our time rolled by gently with gentle ease. We played with Cedar on the grass. We lounged. I napped. Sean napped. I soaked in the bathtub. I read my book. We watched a little tv. We had a screaming child in the wee hours of the night (why does that always happen when you leave home and have 10 neighbors all trying to sleep in?). We rubbed our bleary eyes and stumbled to a gourmet breakfast. We watched fires crackle in their places and headed out before the rain.
When looking back on the weekend, both Sean & I’s favorite moments came from that ridiculous bike ride. As many parents of young children know (or recall), sometimes the moments you get to discover something new together are more limited with a tiny tot, but we’ve found when we take the hour or three that we get, when we get it and do something different, it’s always a rich reward of laughter, quality time, and just, good memories. A perfect weekend for this woman, wife, and mother.