So for the first time we are on holiday on our own, the island of Crete giving us its best - sunshine, a lovely apartment and warm Mediterranean sea with beautiful sunsets and I was prompted to write several overdue blogs on what that means for me and my children.
So here is the first ...
I have a beautiful 15 year old girl and a handsome 12 year old son and we are fully embracing all that comes with warmer climes and with it all those slightly different scenarios, all so very different than holidaying with a Partner or Husband or Wife. So we have been on our own for a lot of our time together, whilst I was married and afterward. Having lived in the Middle East for some of our life we are used to the heat, used to the regular application of sun cream but nothing really that fully supports those differences of not having 'another' there to guide you when things get a little tough.
Firstly we had the OMG I forgot my UK driving licence at the airport situation which so kindly presented itself to us yesterday... it was forgotten, left tucked away in a drawer in the UK, not added to essential documents much needed when so clearly necessary. "I am sorry, but there is no way you can rent the pre-booked car, the insurance won't cover it" PAUSE FOR NOT MUCH BREATH...... comedic eyeballs on stalks and a sharp eeeeek as the rock of stress firmly embedded itself into my solar plexus and the potential for the self-flagellation yielding its disaster magma throwing arms at me... it is 36 degrees, we have some BIG heavy bags and a long journey ahead....by local buses... I rub my tum, trying to practice acceptance, being gentle to myself and the letting go of the impending journey of not one, or two but three bus rides ahead or a hefty taxi fare of 200 euros... the bus rides won!
The children look forlorn, teenage daughter is cross, quite rightly so - it's so hot, she is in jeans and trainers and we walk across the airport car park to a bus ticket booth with grumpy ticket seller objecting to a 50 euro note hastily removed from the airport cash machine. No matter, he helps us and we get on the bus and a kindly - I love kindly people - a German lady tells us she is also going to the Heraklion bus station heading westwards and she shows us the way.
We are offloaded and make our way down side streets to said bus station, it is chaotic, hot and stressful...I am trying not to think of such a large amount of money wasted on the car hire, the return journey we will be facing and what is ahead of us for the next few hours. I breathe deeply into my solar plexus...
We get on the next bus and journey length ranges from 4 hours to 2 1/2.... my mindfulness kicks in wonderfully and the salve of positive thinking allays my fears and I choose to believe in the shorter time journey. I begin to read a work related book, on mindfulness and I breathe, I meditate for 45 mins - unexpected pleasures of having a long bus journey and not driving, at having mindfulness in my life and understanding that it is with you always.
We are then blessed with compassionate Greek people - seeing the single mum and her two children and really helping us get to our destination without further angst and we arrive, 5 hours later. The car hire company reimburses me almost all the money after a brief call and we then make our way to the beach, grateful for the warm sea water, the cooling sand and a wonderful sunset after a long day.
So why the story, well here is the thing, in so many respects this scenario would probably have created an almighty argument on the first day of the holiday with said other, partner, husband or boyfriend, the blame game kicking in and grumpiness for the next 5 hours of buses ... instead the children and I spoke kindly to each other, supporting each other and grateful for our loving supportive company.
Sometimes being, although difficult and scary, the only adult in charge has huge upsides, if you as the said adult can manage the thoughts and feelings emanating from life's unexpected fast balls. And so as we sat and watched the sun go down, with a cooling drink and local dishes, we chatted to each other about the value of our love for each other, that we cannot always get it right and that sometimes three is better than four...
With love x