School holidays should be about fun and relaxation. We didn’t have much planned for half-term. We never do. But that’s the way we like it. We haven’t once been on holiday during February half-term, my husband doesn’t take days off work and we don’t tend to have days out as I’m a crap driver and nervous traveller.
It’s just me and the kids. Relaxing. Pottering around near home. Taking it easy. (And maybe me working a bit.)
My younger son was doing football for two days, which he often does in the holidays. It’s good training for him, as well as being a nice break from the house and his siblings, and helps to give me a bit of ‘free’ time to work. It’s a win-win. His sister was supposed to be joining him for one of the days – purely so I could work without interruption. She’s been before and I must admit she’s not overly keen. She’s usually the only girl, so nobody usually wants to work with her, and she often gets stuck with the younger kids to even out the numbers.
Until a year or so ago, we used to go to town pretty much every weekend. We didn’t have any real reason to go, it was just a habit. When we stopped to think about it, there wasn’t really much point to it and it seemed like a waste of time. So we broke the habit. This meant going to town became a treat. The kids were looking forward to going to town over half-term. I’d also promised them a trip to the cinema (although I envisaged a fight over what we’d see – the likes of a 13 year old film buff and 8 year old girl are vastly different).
But it wasn’t like that at all.
Half-term was about surviving. My daughter was ill and we just had to do what we could, when we could. Trips to town weren’t going to happen. To be honest, tidying the kitchen wasn’t going to happen.
My son still went to his football, but I was gutted that he had to walk there on his own. I felt that I’d abandoned him. The boys had their tea at 7pm, rather than their usual 5.30pm, or at my mum’s house. My daughter cried because she wanted to go to my mum’s, but couldn’t.
I went to bed early or late, got up early or late and during the night. I shared a bed with my daughter, so that I was there if she needed me. I spent hours squatting on the floor next to the toilet, with my daughter clutching the sick bowl, sometimes reading to her. Sometimes I left the shower to run to fill the room with steam and help ease her cough.
Sometimes I worked before they woke up, some days I couldn’t work at all. Some days I didn’t get dressed until 12.30.
I would have given anything for that trip to town or that trip to the cinema. To be honest, I would have given anything for a walk round the block with my daughter.
Half-term was no fun. But we survived it.
Thank goodness it’s not long until the Easter holidays.