Holidays obviously mean different things to different people. To me, they mean a large glug of relaxation tinged with a little adventure, with a dollop of good food, great books and a sun glowing like a cherry on top. The emphasis there is relaxation in the form of lying indulgently in the sun after a lazy breakfast and a poolside bar. Clearly this model was established long before little people accompanied me.
My children have a very different idea of holidays. Ruby believes in getting the most of the day by starting it at 5.30 am. Ok for some, if you are allowed the blissful opportunity for several daytime naps. These are not opportunities afforded to parents. Poppy believes that holidays are about as much mummy-incorporated activity as possible - swimming, walking beside her on a pony, circus training, nature trails... you get my drift. And Daisy obviously believes holidays are an opportunity to talk and sing continuously - at volume - for 14 hours non-stop.
But hey, let's not get picky. Whatever the expectations of the holiday, we were together as a family for 10 glorious (slightly exhausting!) days... and there was a large glowing sun like a cherry on top. As often happens, when the crappy domestic drudgery is removed and we just get to hang out together, it's like falling in love all over again. The girls continue to amaze and impress me, and Ruby's little personality makes itself more and more known.
The last six months have virtually undone me. But a bit of sun, a change of scene and lots of (did I mention exhausting?) kid's laughter has given me the first bit of recovery. It didn't make the pain go away - the middle of the holiday marked six months since Mum's stroke, and there was a painful first morning home when the phone stared at me waiting for me to ring her and tell her all our adventures knowing that no-one will ever want to hear those stories as much as she would have.
But. But. The blanket that a life of being loved by her has wrapped round me continues to keep me warm. And this holiday knitted togther more threads in the life experiences of my girls, weaving wonders and adventures into the fabric of our love. The story continues as I open my arms and bring them under my blanket too.