Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Tuesday 30th June

Up close and personal is not necessarily the way one would like to encounter an elephant in a national park, especially the Addo Elephant Park. That is, of course, exactly what we did, within minutes (just about) of entering the park this morning.

I’ve only ever been that close to an elephant once before – when we went on a ‘walk with elephants’ experience at a special park. Today I did not have to pay a fortune and had almost as close an interaction with the great pachyderm.

How exciting! As it strolled down the road past the car, I could have just about reached out my hand and touched it.

We also saw four caracals, almost also up close and personal. At least, not very far away. They are small, but powerful cats that are also quite fascinating to watch. We all felt extremely lucky to have seen one, let alone four, today.

All the time we are spending together as a family, doing things, having fun, planning where to go and what to do, as well as what to eat, is so great. In some ways, I think that this is what we have needed since the cancer thing. There have been holidays since then, and we went away for the holiday in December, but none of these have been all of us together on a proper road trip for a decent length of time, exploring and having a great time, as we do as a family when we all go away together.

There are moments you don’t have to force, fun that just happens, that you will remember forever.

Through the whole cancer thing, all of the kids and Paul have  been there as a huge part of my support structure, which has, of course, just boosted me and helped me to be in the best frame of mind possible to fight the disease/condition and to overcome. I would not like to go through that again, or, more importantly, to have to see them all go through it for, and with, me. I do love, though, the memories of how we tackled it together and how their very presence and support made it all so much easier for me.

A holiday like this is what we are about. So many, often random, people who we meet comments on the awesome family we are. And I agree, of course. 100%.

This family is awesome and we can achieve a lot together. That may be encountering elephants that are too close for comfort, or it may be rallying around one of us to make sure that that person gets better, or travels a journey with support and success.

Isn’t that what family is all about?


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