Every family has its unique little habits or traditions. Things that bring their family together and are ingrained in their life. For my family we have something a little different. We have a happy place. We are a small but very close family Alhamdellah.
The happy place is where we go to get away from life. It’s the place where for a few hours we leave our troubles behind. Whenever life gets tough and my dad notices everyone is bored, we head down to the seaside. We don’t just go to any seaside; we are very specific. It has to be Brighton beach. It’s near to London and easy to get to. Everyone there is so friendly and relaxed. As a hijabi, it’s the most welcoming seaside city I have ever visited and I have been to many.
We have been going there since I was a small child. It would just be my parents and us kids. Now when we go, we are, mashallah, a lot more than that. I am with my own husband and children, my siblings, their families and of course my parents. It’s funny we always park in the same car park. We go to the same chip shop and sit in the exact same spot. But we never get bored of going. Yes, the car park got updated and is more expensive, as my husband likes to remind me. The chip shop changed and got bigger but for our family it’s still perfect. Fish and chips on the beach it is. After we have lunch and the endless snacks, we pray our midday prayers right there on the beach. Praying with the sea in front of you is just amazing.
We all sit around my parents, with my dad debating the latest news with us. Listening to his beautiful stories and memories is so comforting and delightful. He shares stories of his travels or memories of his life in Iraq. We never tire of hearing his wise words and the debates are often more fun than the stories themselves. The kids will be running around on the beach and as always soaking wet from playing in the water.
It’s funny because it’s like we have an unspoken timetable. Around late afternoon, we walk along the beach. If we get lucky and it’s sunny then it really is lovely. For those few hours we all forget our hectic city life and reconnect with each other. We then walk up to the pier to buy fresh doughnuts and candy floss from a tiny little stall that has been there forever. We smell the doughnuts long before we reach them and when we do buy them, they are fresh, hot and delicious.
The day is finished off with laughter on the vintage funfair rides and beautiful sea views at the end of the pier. Then we have to buy the slush puppies to cool down after the rides. We never get bored of it or want to go anywhere else. For my family it’s simply always perfect in every way.
What do your family hold dear and do you have a happy place?
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