I’m linking this post to Suzanne at 3childrenandit’s linky “we’re all going on a summer holiday”.
So, we are off to Greece in a couple of weeks. Holidays are a strange thing. We spend lots of money on them. The idea is to ‘get away from it all’ for a couple of weeks. To do something different, to relax, have fun, break the routine. Depending on choice this escape could involve sightseeing, a bit of activity, touring or simply lazing about on a beach doing as little as possible.
I have to admit, that I love the idea of holidays, I tend to over-romantisise them. I think it is part of my desire to do everything perfectly and the result is often that I get so stressed in the run up to the trip that I wish I wasn’t going and / or that I come home feeling very let down, disappointed and feeling like I’ve failed myself and my family.
So why do it? Why spend a heap of money and have all that stress in order to end up wishing I hadn’t? Well, to be fair, it doesn’t always end like that. There are many holidays where the stress has actually been worth it, and we’ve had a lovely time. The children like going away. We have got some lovely memories. The children have seen different coutries and different places, experienced different food, which is all about them learning and developing. My Son with aspergers does find going away quite difficult, but he still wants to do it. He wants to see different places, he likes to know about the different currency and as long as he is OK about doing it, we think it is a good way of learning how to cope with changes in routine and environments.
We chose to go to Greece this summer because we have wanted to take the children for a long time, but had never got around to it until now. Greece holds lots of memories for D and I. It was my first family holiday abroad when I was 16. It was where D and I met and it was the last holiday D and I went on before B was born and we haven’t been back since. We have talked to the children about it and shown them pictures. Last summer their cousins went to Skiathos and came back saying what a lovely time they’d had and showed off their beautiful photographs, so we talked to the children about it and decided we would give it a go this summer.
We chose the last 2 weeks of the summer holiday very specifically. Partly it is actually quite a bit cheaper to go in those 2 weeks than earlier in the summer. But, also we have been away at this time before and it has worked quite well. It gives us something to look forward to during the holiday and it gives my Son plenty of time to unwind and relax after finishing school. This year there was an added reason. In addition to all of this we felt that having our trip to Greece at the end of the holiday might act as a bit of a distraction for B to give an alternative focus to that of starting High School.
So, In two weeks we are off and part of me wants to sit back and say YAY – I CAN’T WAIT. But, in reality that isn’t happening. I’m very nervous. B hasn’t really settled at all this summer. The nerves about school are kicking in. We had deliberately chosen to go away at the end of the summer because we thought the holiday might be a bit of a distraction from starting his new school. But now I’m worrying that the plan might back-fire and it might just make him even more anxious.
When we booked the holiday the children were both keen on the idea having seen the pictures of their cousins on beautiful empty beaches in beautiful clear blue water. However, now they both seem less keen and are already questioning ‘how far is it to the beach?’ and ‘how hot will it be?’.
One of the things they were particularly keen on when they heard about their cousins’ holiday was the idea of hiring a small motor boat to chug about to isolated beaches and little islands. This is still one of the things that they are asking about. However this fills me with utter dread. Don’t get me wrong – I love the idea of pootling about on clear blue water in a little boat to discover deserted beaches and I really want my children to have this experience because I know they will love it. My 11yo boy will like nothing better than driving a boat and being in control of where he takes us. Are you starting to get the picture?
Ok, I can’t see very well, which probably isn’t the best, but I could do it. – I’d drive VERY, VERY slowly. I wouldn’t go too far from the coast – just far enough to avoid rocks, lilos and swimmers, and I would probably stop at the nearest deserted beach. I would accept that I could live without an island – I’d just pretend I’d gone to an island. But I’m afraid my children and Husband will not let this happen. If we hire a boat I will not be allowed to control the driving, my Son will want to go fast, he will want to steer and decide where we go. My husband will encourage this and tell me ‘its all fine’. He will want a go at driving and will expect me and the children to give him directions. He will want to go just that little bit further. So, all in all, the combination of an 11 year-old boy with aspergers, a dare-devil husband with no sight (he can ski black-runs), a nervous wreck of a Mummy and a 9 year-old drama-queen girl will make an interesting boating excursion.
So there you have it – I’m absolutely petrified of this responsibility yet I know it will happen. Part of me wants it to happen, because I want us to enjoy the things that others do on holiday. I am 99% certain we will be just as safe, if not safer, than anyone else who might hire one of these boats and take out a cooler full of lagers or kids who think its great to jump off rocks where the water isn’t deep enough, but I HATE the responsibility and I worry like hell about it.
I don’t know how my Son will cope with the heat. We have all sorts of ideas about things we could do. Snorkelling, collecting crabs and shells, taking photographs, walking through the pine forests, catching the boat to the local town, but all of this is only possible if we can all share the load and help to carry the lilos, water bottles, towels, beach mats, parasols, cameras, snorkels, sun-screen, books, sun-glasses, hats, beach-ball etc. etc. etc. and, my god, sometimes you would think we were asking the children to climb mount Everest with a 50 KG pack on, by the fuss they make if they are asked to carry a beach mat, towel and some of their ‘toys’. It is at these points that I wonder why on earth we have done it.
Having said all of this, I guess, deep down I know through the moaning, my worries and the stress of packing, it is nearly always worth it. We have some lovely memories and it is often the time of the year where I might get a few days where I can let my mind drift for a little while to the sound of the lapping waves and chirruping cicadas and to the smell of herbs.
So, wish me luck and if you’re anywhere in the vicinity of Skiathos at the end of August stay well clear of any of the little chugging motor boats – You never know who might be driving!
I hope you’re all having a lovely holiday. Why not pop over to Suzanne’s blog and read some other lovely stories or link your own.
Thank you for reading
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