“How on earth do you do it?” exclaimed my friend, laughing and commiserating for me at the same time (such a thing is possible, believe me). “So much drama seems to happen around you, without you even doing anything!”
She’s right there. My dear, ever-so-fond-of-cycling husband, a Mamil if ever there was one, has gone and broken his ankle and lower leg ever so spectacularly, meaning that our summer holiday to the French Alps is cancelled. Again.
He really can’t be blamed (somewhat annoyingly 🙂 as he says he’d taken the corner very slowly. As he’s not that much of a risk taker, and it’s a local route he knows well, I believe him. It was the bloomin’ branch lying cunningly in his path just around that corner that I blame.
The thing is, we were booked to go on the exact same holiday to the exact same campsite in the same part of France on the shores of Lake Annecy some 367 days ago. And that road trip too was cancelled thanks to my slightly out of character oversight of passport expiry dates, discovered on the very morning of our departure. This, despite my definitely checking my son’s passport in early January when I booked it (I blame the new year and my befuddled ‘What year is it?’ state for that). Even though this made for fantastic blog post material, I never wrote that post as I needed a break from social media that summer. But then, hey presto, I’ve been given another opportunity….sigh.
To say its unfortunate is an understatement of the most British kind. To ‘lose’ one summer holiday in quite such a manner is pretty galling, but to lose two? I think Lady Bracknell would have had something to say about this….
“To lose one
mother holiday, Mrs Calthrop, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.”
Except it’s probably the other way round in our case.
At least I can laugh about it this year. You can claim on your insurance for accidents; you can’t for being over busy and blind.
And so the four of us find ourselves facing quite a different summer holiday than we’d planned.
Initially I was able to be positive. “I’ve been here before, I can face this again. You never know what positive things will come out of this,” was my mantra, what I said in my head and to the kids. But then, we hadn’t really been here before. Last year, we found another holiday within 6 hours and all without even unpacking the car. Quite a feat, I reckon. Is there a category for this in the Guinness Book of Records? This year, my husband is in pain and in plaster for 3 months. Yes, I did say 3 months. That takes us nicely up to….umm the middle of autumn half term holiday. No holiday then either. He can’t even put his foot down in that time. And yes, I know, I’m more than capable of making up for him….
So, at the end of a crazy busy term, I’m faced with more work, not less, and not getting out into the beautiful world, beyond suburbia. No bike rides, lazing by a pool, drinking in mountain scenes, scoffing French croissants and lapping up a different culture. No hanging loose as a family with no ‘to do’s. Instead, lots and lots of work. On top of that Matt has gone straight onto half pay as he’s already used up his 10 days allowance in the previous 12 months from asthma related illness. And so our monthly income is going to be drastically reduced too. These were the things I’ve been having to swallow.
It’s been a really hard 10 days.
But you know, doesn’t this highlight what a comfortable, happy life we normally lead? I’ve been incredibly fortunate to be living in the ‘easier’ side of life, to give it a name. On Sunday, I moved across into the world of carers, of people who watch others go away for lovely holidays every year, several times a year round here, whilst they struggle at home with a special needs child. I know one such person, and I don’t know how she does it. And I’m not even remotely in the position of people whose husbands are wounded in life-long ways such as head injuries, like my mum. Nor am I a mother who’s crammed into a boat on the Mediterranean with 100 others and who very likely won’t make it across alive.
These are tough times for most people in the world. Our kids have very good lives as it is (and so far, they’re actually seeming to be quite happy at home, just goes to show). It doesn’t make it any easier what I’m going through. But I know many, many people are learning to live with far harder. I’ve got a lot to learn…..