I find it ridiculously difficult to admit my weaknesses as a very strong-willed, and strong-minded young single parent, as I’m sure most do. (Bit of a mouthful that sentence but none the less true!) When I was young I was judged as the daft lassie who had twins. Admittedly.. getting pregnant at 16 with not one but two children was definitely not in my to do list at the time but it happened. Personally I experienced a lot of judgement back then and have since built up walls and admittedly proved plenty of folk wrong. I’d like to think I’m a good mum. After all I have brought up my kids on my own – completely. It’s no longer a statement I’m ashamed to say.
There are however times where I really wish that I wasn’t single, and that there was another parent to be there for them. Firstly, the fact that they won’t have any close in age siblings (other than themselves – and I’m eternally grateful for whatever biological magic happened that made me conceive two! ) I have 4 brothers, I come from a largish family. My dad has 5 brothers and 4 sisters. So I dunno, siblings just might not be on the cards. I’ve come to accept this though.
Holiday season is another time that seriously sucks as a single parent. We’ve only ever went on holiday in the UK. As you may or may not know Leon has autism. Severe autism. He’s 8 years old and hasn’t said a single solitary word. Completely non verbal and makes no effort to speak so I’m 90% sure non-verbal is for life with Leon. He’s also doubly incontinent as yet. He finds it difficult to go to busy places and needs someone to reassure him. Max also has ADHD but can manage these places well, or at least he can when Leon has good days.
On Leons bad days, Leon can be seen going rigid and throwing himself at the ground so I decided that getting him a wheelchair for busy places was absolutely in his best interests (cue more judgements). So usually most of my times with him and Max is kinda left out. It sucks! But it’s all I can do. I’m rattling on a bit here..
Max also keeps asking about going to Disneyland, his friends seem to go there every school holiday! The thing is, the only adults that I trust with them are my mum and dad and my brothers. I’m sure a bunch of us single parents are in the same boat, right? My mum and dad are not fit enough to travel to Paris & help Max go on and off rides (I’d be with Leon on them, and Max would also need an adult) My 3 youngest brothers are a bit too immature completely and I’d have a further 3 people to care for, and the oldest has a mobility issue with his arm (large metal plate in place of his whole upper arm due to cancer) and isn’t able to go on most rides incase he damages his arm further. So it’s because of this that Disney just isn’t likely to happen.. right now.
I’ve decided that I don’t want to be thinking in 8 or 9 years time “I should have just went”. And regret not trying to take them. But there’s so many things to consider holidaying abroad with kids alone. (if I go alone!)
We can go where the hell we want. I can keep everything in my car. I am insured on the rental agreement I have, I only need to inform them. Carrying things isn’t an issue because I can leave them in the boot. Calais situation is worrying right now but surely things will calm down by the time we go. On the negative – it’s a very, very long trip. Much longer than the flight. The Euro tunnel situation is scary, I’m anxious just thinking about it..
For starters, it’s quick. I can go from Glasgow or Edinburgh. I can take the wheelchair (checked) On the less positive. It’s flying. I’m afraid of heights. I’ve never flown, so can’t tell my boys what to expect. Leon might have a meltdown if the pressure goes weird for him. Which would be hellish all round.
Hotel – Hotel is a definite. I would worry about Leon eating though – he’s incredibly picky. He does not like alternating his foods at all. It would need to be wheelchair accessible. It would also need to be fairly quiet. I’d want it to be at Disneyland so we don’t need to worry about travelling to & from the park.
The Park – Who’s going to watch the wheelchair / bags if I’m on the rides with them.. will the staff help? How will Leon be with the loudness of the rides – will he be able to wear his ear defenders? Is Max able to sit himself on the ride seat in front / behind me even though he’s fairly young? If Leon has a meltdown will Max behave himself until Leons calmed down? If I get ill, how the hell’s that going to work out and can we get home early in case of any emergency?
These are only the beginning of things I as well as any other single parent would need to consider before we even so much as visit Thomas Cook let alone book a holiday. I’ve set my heart on it though – maybe not next year, but hopefully the following!