‘We’re all going on a Summer holiday’, aka a long weekend. In a caravan. An hour away. In September. None of that nonsense beautifully filtered pictures of family jaunts to idyllic beaches here. Oh No.
I will let you know now, it rained. Monsoon season style rained. That sets the scene.
Halfway there, the satnav went rouge so we got lost. Little boy sat in the back pestering to play on the I phone and telling me I was making him feel sick with the car smell.
Because I am of course responsible for that.
I employed my creative mother skills and mouthed ‘asshole’ at a speeding car so the little wouldn’t hear my bad language.
Please note, the derogative was aimed at the driver not the child.
Collecting my pop sock wearing grandmother on route I used my feet to shove her bag into my tiny Toyota. She had filled it with luxuries any modern family would want, tins of corned beef and little milk pots. With nana in sight Leo went into full blown brat mode. Familial law decrees I cannot scold my son or incite crying when his great grandmother is around. She gets physically upset. Even when he throws Mr Jingles the elf at Mummy’s head whilst driving.
HE WILL BE GROUNDED FOR LIFE WHEN WE GET HOME…
Accommodated in 4ft by 4ft of tin caravan I watched as the two opened all the little cupboards and chose their beds excitedly. I found amusement in the fact the toilet was so small to pull my trousers up I had to go into the hall.
There is no grace in showing your grandmother your bum.
The neighbours also watch you weeing through the garishly patterned curtains made out of tissue, cobwebs and good intentions.
Within ten minutes I was trying to coax a 70 year old off a climbing frame at the park. We had 6 meals that day. Only one bumped knee and a dropped chocolate bar meltdown occurred.
4 Pokemon were caught…
9pm Friday night and I was sitting in the dark, in silence, as still as possible as to not wake the sleepers. Nan does not like light, Leo hates noise and the van rocks when anyone moves. I did not buy wine so ate through a multipack of Milky way bars.
Fireworks sounding like an air raid boomed sometime in the early hours. Did I sleep through till bonfire night? Mummy had to find an empty crisp packet to hyperventilate into.
The next morning little boy was spending his inheritance in the seafront arcade. Two hours were spent on the two penny machines trying to win a Pikachu badge. I was grumpy because I forgot to pack knickers. Yes I did try and see if I could fit into a pair of Leos. Delusion personified.
We got soggy hunting for sausage rolls in town then fled back to the warmth of the caravan. And CBBC. 45 minutes were spent building an overpriced Lego truck Nanny bought little boy…only to have batman needed smash it up upon completion.
I applied SHOUTY voice to the situation.
An expedition was made to the Co-op for some loo roll. Little man of course demanded pick & mix and a crappy magazine he can’t read with a dangerous looking shooting object that cost way too much. I say no as nanny says yes. He smirked at me. At least 24 games of UNO were had.
Feral kids were screaming outside, some unknown woman was screaming at said feral children. I hope they had coats on. There was talk of going to bingo. Instead all three of us went retro and played snakes and ladders. Little boy attempted to cheat and cried when he lost. Character building.
Nan snuck into the lounge at 10pm, she whispered ‘I can’t sleep I am thinking about pick & mix’. Took two out and shuffled back to bed. Legend. The last morning we all drank milky tea, watched the waves, decapitated some flowers attempting to play crazy golf. We drove home with bags of crinkled clothes, overtired.
But happy and together.
Families are messy, chaotic, exhausting… perfect postcard family holiday? Lies lies lies. Yet amongst all this carefully planned holiday horror…undeniable LOVE. Moments I will try and capture in my memory forever. How grateful I am that my son can argue with his great Nana. That when he falls asleep next to me at night she asks I carry him to sleep with her. To watch him. Hearing them giggling together in the morning and reading stories.
My heart could not want more.
Except for perhaps some knickers.