Project Awesome

Making my life more awesome

I’m back! Did you miss me?

on April 21, 2012

I have been on holiday.  With Big Girl, Little Girl, my mum and dad, my sister and brother-in-law, my brother and my other sister’s little boy.  Yes, that’s a lot of people to be on holiday with.

We went to a Haven site in the Lakes. Well, they say in the Lakes.  We say ‘just below the Lakes’  But let’s not quibble over geography.  I’d never been to Haven before.  My sister is just a little bit obsessed with them. I’m not entirely sure why – I think she’s living some sort of childhood dream, which may tell you a lot about my childhood.

So, we stayed in a static caravan.  I quite like static caravans.  It’s like living in a miniature bungalow.  And it feels like an upgrade from the trailer tent we holidayed in as children.  My parents clearly don’t think so as they chose to take their trailer tent.  Wisely, they now have one which only sleeps two, so we can’t sneak our way into their holidays.

And there was heating in my room, which was nice, and I got to share a double bed with Little Girl, so I think I got the best accommodation.  Big Girl shared with her cousin, which she was very excited about.  He was less enamoured with the idea after she spent the first night turning the light switch by the bed on and off repeatedly.  I think toddlers in escapable beds are not a good idea but there was no room for a cot.  The next night he was put to bed in my sister’s bed and then moved into his own when she went to bed.  And then finally, when my brother went home a night early, the sister and brother-in-law slept in the lounge and my nephew slept in their room and peace reigned.

Haven is one of those weird places that, a bit like soft play places, you never really imagine going to until you have children. And then you can see why you might go, even if you don’t really like it yourself.  There’s as much free swimming as you want (or, in Big Girl’s case, as much walking round the edge of the swimming pool repeatedly as you want).  There’s children’s entertainment – crafts, discos, all sorts of things.  There’s a playground. There’s crazy golf, trampolines and arcades. There are activities to do – I tried archery with my brother-in-law, although it was dismal.  The arrows were mostly bent (more so by the time I’d boomeranged a couple of them back at myself) and missing flights and the instructor clearly had a hangover and didn’t give a shit.  But they’re there and presumably usually better than that.  But still, I can imagine in a couple of years, when my girls are old enough to make the most of it and I can sit around reading, it will be more like a proper holiday.

But I think the problem for me, and I feel so ungrateful writing this after my family all came on holiday with me, helped with my children and tried to make sure I actually had a holiday, was that it just wasn’t what I wanted.  Ex-Husband and I didn’t go on holiday often or for long, but when we did, we’d worked out what we liked to do and we did it.  A B&B, some castles, perhaps a walk, dinner, visits to tea-shops and museums (and no, I’m not actually middle-aged) – this wasn’t it. And I still feel like a failure.  At Christmas I felt like I was slinking back to my parents’ house, tail between my legs, a single mum with two children and a failed marriage.  And I think I felt like I was on holiday, a single mum , with my family, because my husband no longer wanted to be with me or go on holiday with me.  I feel so lucky to have my family, and we did have a good time, and I like being with my family because there’s nothing as familiar as family – but I’m still grieving for what I have lost.

And actually, it was my first proper holiday with children.  We’d had one small holiday with Big Girl when I was pregnant again, and it was hard work.  We had to plan our lives around Big Girl’s needs and watch her all the time.  It was exhausting.  This time I had double the children and, although I had a lot of help from my family, I had sole responsibility. Holidays with children are about the children having fun and doing lots of hard work in a different place, and enjoying the change which is alleged to be as good as a rest.

So maybe sometimes it’s not about what you think it’s about.  Yes, it was my first holiday without Ex-Husband, and that was always going to be hard.  But it was my first holiday with two small children, one of whom has just learnt to crawl so is now a danger to herself and a menace to her sister.  That was never going to be easy either.


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