It took us to nearly the eve of our twin’s fifth birthday but we finally did what we(I) have dreamed of since they were born. In the many discussions on this topic we have never had so many pro and cons , one minute thinking sure you can bring your routine anywhere, to the panic at lugging all that extra equipment that comes with twins, especially when they are smallies. There were debates back and forth on whether we should go on a sun holiday with our children. There was never a hope that we would go in when they were tiny babies, and I take my hat off to anyone who has done and I saw lots of small babies splashing away in baby pools this year. For us we wanted the kids to be a little bit older before we would venture on our very first foreign sun holiday. They walked from eleven months so that put their first year out , there was no way we were going anywhere other than really familiar places with babies who now thought they were marathon walkers and had abandoned their buggy for good. The year of two we were happy to stay at home, the threenage years, no way, it was hard enough to manage two wildlings in a local park let alone in a foreign country. When they turned four it was a summer filled with laughter with lots of small day trips but mostly a-lot of sadness and heartache when my lovely mam died. Roll on a miserable few months, a-lot of stress, crap weather and the need to escape for a little while and have some happy times together, we booked our first family sun holiday.
No buggies, no boobs or bottle feeds, no younger kids paraphernalia , just us, our suitcases and the kids backpacks filled with enough to keep them occupied on a trip to New York don’t mind a short flight to sunny Majorca. The excitement all round was intense and then we were there. The water was as ombre as I had hoped it was going to be, Majorca is truly beautiful and breathtaking, I wish I could wake up to the view from our room every day truth be told. And the best bit, it wasn’t the kids waking us at ungodly hours, it was the cleaning staff. We were on a winner it really felt like for us , this age, worked out really well for the first trip abroad as a family.
And yet some people say why would you go the kids won’t remember, why spend all that money. I remember discussing this with a few friends who has travelled lots with kids, from when they were young babies and to each their own, why question anyone’s decision. Same as parenting there is always going to be ten opinions to something you do, so in my own opinion, do what works for your family be it for any reason. Personally I feel at this age my children will remember, but on the off chance that they don’t, I already look forward to the many many evenings ahead as they get older and as maybe one day if they have their own children ,that I am there to pour over the photo albums of all our holidays. They’ve been to lots of places in Ireland since they were teeny and we have albums of our many stay-cations, full to the brim capturing moments along the way. There seems to be mixed feelings on holidaying with kids when they are young, but again to each their own I say. To each person who says why go to the expense, why go to the bother when they are so small and won’t remember. I reply, why do you care?
I pour over my mother’s albums now even more so now since she is no longer here , to get any glimpse I can of her smiling face. Yes there are plenty of photos of her at home on a standard day but there is something special about holiday photos. My parents started travelling to European campsites when we were very young. I have very hazy memories of driving through tunnels connecting France and Italy. Walking down to collect the fresh bread in the little bakery every morning. As I sit in rainy Ireland watching my own children lap up all the photos of me when I was young , I in turn can almost feel the love ,feel the warm sun on my shoulders, feel my dad’s arms as he keeps me safe in the pool in Majorca, feel my mothers hand in mine as we stand for a picture in front of a fountain somewhere in France. Memories whilst some are hazy are triggered in me, and at times places and days I have long forgotten come rushing back to me . I see my parents, as tired parents, we didn’t sleep much as kids so their motto was we may as well not sleep in warmer climates and get some vitamin D and downtime then as stay at home, they are smiling and happy, as we all are in the pictures.
(Mam & I taking a pit-stop in Rome)
I haven’t smiled so much for a very long time and can honestly say although I am very tired and need another holiday to recover as even at the age of 4.5years old, it is still hard work with young kids abroad. There isn’t much down-time, you are always going, you might give each other ,if you are going with a partner ,an hour or two to themselves, but you also don’t want to miss out on the fun with the kids. They make you happy, they make you smile, selfishly I wanted to see the joy in their eyes when they saw the pool and the slides. When they dipped their toes into the Mediterranean sea and couldn’t understand why it felt like swimming in a lukewarm bath as opposed to the freezing cold Atlantic like we are used to here in Ireland. The warm weather really does work wonders on your soul, I’m smiling now as I write this and can feel the gentle breeze on my back and hear the lap of the small waves in the sea.
Memories can be made anywhere and it is so much fun to discover somewhere new as a family. To introduce the kids to new cultures, for them to meet and play with other children from different parts of the world and to experience new things, see new places. To spend time together away from the often hectic pace of life back home when we are all rushing to work and school and for an extended period of time break from the routine. Yes some of the stresses carry through to wherever you go , there will be arguments, there will be overtired people( including the adults) .However for me I am still smiling as I think back and remember clinking glasses with my other half as we sat outside watching the kids do a conga like around the mini disco and enjoyed a few stolen moments together. Holidaying with children is completely different, don’t set too much expectation, expect some stresses to carry across to where-ever you go, be prepared to be tired but it’s a different tired, a switched off from home tired and I will take that any holiday! The kids are already asking when we are going back so for us it’s win win and as soon as the sales begin next years trip will be booked, after the adults only weekend away that is!