Once there was a young wombat named Benson who lived in a nice, comfortable wombat hole with his mother and his two aunts, Lillibet and Moss.
Benson’s Nanna had a cough that wouldn’t go away. It made her very tired. Sometimes she was so tired, she couldn’t work in the the garden and she just sat inside all day resting.
Benson’s mother was worried about her. She talked to Aunt Lillibet and Aunt Moss, and they all agreed that something should be done. “She needs a proper rest,” Aunt Lillibet said.
“A nice holiday,” said Aunt Moss.
“That’s a good idea,” said Benson’s mother. “A holiday at the beach. I’ll talk to her and see what she thinks.”
“Can I go on Nanna’s holiday?” Benson said.
“No, Benson, Nanna needs a proper rest, so she can get over this cough and get back to her old self,” his mother said.
Benson thought Nanna wouldn’t like anyone thinking her self was old. He thought it would be better if she could get back to her younger self.
Nanna was lying down then they got to her house. Benson’s mother told her their idea for a holiday and asked her what she thought.
“It sounds lovely,” Nanna said “All of us going to the beach together, collecting shells, paddling, chasing crabs, going for long walks…”
“No, not all of us, ” Benson’s mother said, “just you. You wouldn’t get a proper rest with all of us around. You’d be cooking and running around after us and you wouldn’t get any rest at all. You know you wouldn’t.”
Nanna said, “I suppose you’re right.” Benson and his mother helped her pack, and she went off on her holiday, all by herself.
For the first few days Benson didn’t think about Nanna at all. Then he got a book out of the library about sharks, and he started to worry.
“What if Nanna gets bitten by a tiger shark, or a blue whale, and there’s nobody there to save her?” he said to his mother.
“Nanna only goes into the water up to her knees,” his mother said. “She’ll be perfectly safe.”
“What if a tsunami comes, like a giant wave, and whooshes her over and the tiger sharks come and get her?” Benson said.
“I don’t think that’s going to happen,” his mother said. “You don’t have to worry about her. She’ll be lying on the sand having a nice rest, I’m sure.”
“But she’ll get sunburnt!” Benson said.
“She always wears her hat and her long-sleeved shirt and her sunglasses, and puts her sunscreen on,” his mother said. “She’ll be fine.”
“What if she forgot to take her hat?” Benson said.
“She didn’t,” his mother said. “I packed it myself.” Then she said, “Benson, is something wrong? Why are you so worried about Nanna?”
Benson burst into tears. “I miss her!” he said. “I miss Nanna!” He sobbed and sobbed.
His mother put her arms around him and gave him a long hug. “It’s all right, you’ll see her again soon,” she said.
“But not soon enough!” Benson bawled, crying all over his mother’s nice clean apron.
She sat down and lifted him onto her lap, and gave him a hanky to blow his nose. “Maybe we need to go and visit Nanna at the beach,” she said.
Benson nodded, and tears splashed all over his mother’s nose.
“Okay, let’s go,” she said.
Benson was glad his mother was the kind of person who did what they said they were going to do straight away, without dithering around. They packed some things in a backpack, some cheese crackles and green apples and fresh feijoas, and they got their hats and their water-bottles and they set off.
When they got there, Nanna was sitting on the beach with her hat and her shirt and her sunglasses on, looking sadly at the waves. When she saw Benson and his mother, she was so happy she cried.
“Benson!” she said, “I missed you so much!” She hugged him, and then she hugged his mother. “I missed everyone. A holiday by yourself is nice, but a holiday with people you love is a real holiday.”
They sat on the sand and ate feijoas and apples, and Benson’s mother decided that it would be a good idea to stay and share Nanna’s holiday, so they did. Benson paddled and made a giant sea-weed castle, and made sea-monsters on the sand out of shells. They went for long walks and Nanna had long naps on the beach while Benson and his mother played volleyball and had competitions to see who could dig the longest tunnel and the biggest hole. At the end of every day, Benson was very tired, and Nanna was more and more rested.
Benson’s mother said to her, “It’s good to see you getting back to your old self again.”
Benson said, “I think she’s more like a new self,” and Nanna gave him a hug.