Regular readers will know we recently ventured on a holiday without the men-children. Our first taste of life without the boys for an extended period and also Sister of a Man-Child’s first taste of a holiday as an only child. Let’s face it, it’s likely to happen more frequently not less in years to come.
It’s fair to say we all enjoyed the break, yes even the boys left at home and school. We enjoyed a very relaxing holiday with only the demands of one child (and a pretty undemanding one at that) to satisfy. Our daughter lapped up the undivided attention, although occasionally wished her brothers were in the pool playing with her (how quickly she forgets their tormenting). And our sons enjoyed the company of their favourite “cool” uncle and aunt, the ones with no kids, who treat them like adults, and have taken them on fab holidays over the years.
I will admit to missing the boys – you always think of your kids when you’re travelling, enjoying something new or indulgent and thinking how much they would also enjoy it. I know they would have loved the villa and the pool, and the cooked breakfast each morning. As compensation, my daughter and I made a special trip to find the t-shirts they wanted (very, very particular brands for 16-year-old boys), with strict instructions about colours/stripes etc. Thankfully my daughter seemed to be an excellent barometer of what the boys would and wouldn’t like. She saved me from buying all the wonderful new bright colours in polos for summer that they would have absolutely hated. As it was even with their guidelines, I still didn’t get it 100% right.
When the first man-child walked in the door to find us at home, I was greeted with a hug and kiss and “how was the trip”. OMG, I know, a lovely son greeting his mother. 🙂 Typically, he then dove into the bag to check the presents we had bought for him, and declared that half the expensive (by Bali standards) t-shirts were “gay” and what was I thinking!!!
Well, not surprisingly, I told him exactly what I was thinking. Firstly, that he could put the t-shirts where the sun didn’t shine. Secondly, that I wished we hadn’t bothered to spend so much time stressing about what t-shirts to get him at several different shops, and thirdly, that they actually met his brief. I then declared that I would give them away to someone else and stormed off quite angry and upset. It’s a bit like giving someone a lovely Xmas gift you’ve invested a lot of time buying, only to be told they think it’s horrid and can they take it back? Only Bali’s a bit too far to go to exchange the colours isn’t it? I received a similarly delightful greeting from his twin brother when he came home, thankfully without the carry on about the t-shirts. He’s less fussy and his brief was far better!
I caught up with my twin sister who declared the boys had been absolutely delightful in our absence. She struggled to even remember if they had fought. She had helped them out with homework, and even been reasonable when she found one intentionally “late” so he would miss his English class. The cool, calm head of a temporary (but excellent) parent. She even commented about what lovely young men they were growing into, as exhibited at several family dinners in our absence. Why are they always better for someone else? Nevertheless, that is just what every parent wants to hear. Naturally, within an hour of her departure both boys were fighting and we could hear the slamming of bodies upstairs as the household returned to its natural rhythm. I swear, every night after we got home they seemed to fight, just to make us realise how nice our little break was!
So onto the next holiday, which will be WITH the boys. It was nice to have the break, it was nice to miss them, and it was nice to come home, even to a fight or two.
PS. The “gay” t-shirts ended up in the cupboard – maybe not so bad after all?
If you think we’re horrible, here’s the earlier discussion around our holiday plans and why we decided to leave the boys at home. The Challenge of Happy Holidays for Everyone.