There was one thing I wanted to do over the Easter weekend. A day out. Just the five of us.
I know some families have days out every weekend. We are not that family. We manage maybe one or two days out a year (apart from when we’re on holiday, of course). Our weekends are ruled by football matches and rugby matches, plus homework, housework, gardening and my husband’s endless work. Just because the calendar says it’s Saturday or Sunday, it doesn’t mean he stops working. He just does it at home rather than in the office. True to form, he wasn’t taking any extra days off over the Easter holidays, so my dream day out had to be over the Easter weekend. We had stuff to do on Friday and Saturday, so Easter Monday looked like the best day.
But where to go?
I’ll be honest, I love reading about people’s days out at National Trust places – walks, gardens, architecture… What’s not to love? But I knew if I suggested such a thing, it would be met by horror by the other four people in the family. Ironically, I think they’d love it if they tried it, but the words ‘National Trust, gardens, architecture’ don’t go down well with big kids. Or my husband.
It turns out my sons and husband had been harbouring a secret desire to go to Stonehenge. That sounded perfect. A nice walk from the visitor centre, looking at an incredible historic monument, taking some nice photos, hopefully eating some nice lunch and, most importantly, getting away from the house and the grind for a day! I was quite excited.
But I was a little bit nervous about the journey as there’s a fairly long stretch without motorway and my daughter gets travel sick. Even though she isn’t actually sick, it’s horrible for her when she feels sick (and not nice for me because I’m worrying about her – it takes the shine off a day). And then we saw the weather forecast. Not just any wind and rain. Storm Katie. It looked horrendous. Not a day for going to Stonehenge.
I saw my longed-for day out slipping away from me. Probably our last opportunity for a day out until the summer. I pictured my husband at his computer, the kids in front of the TV or their tablets. Arguing.
All I’d wanted was one day away from that.
And at 1.45am on Easter Monday, it really was game over. My eldest shouted to tell me he’d been sick. He is NEVER sick. The last time he was sick was in year 6 (he’s in year 10 now) and that was a temperature/ virus kind of illness, not a stomach bug.
I’m rubbish with sick. I have a phobia, although of course I’ve had to learn to overcome it over the years. But if my husband is around, he deals with it. My poor boy was sick three more times over the course of an hour. I popped to see him five or six times to check on him, but left my husband to deal with the messier side of things.
I’m a real worrier with illness, particularly vomiting. My stomach is usually easily as unsettled as the ill person’s as I’m so stressed. I know it’s silly, but I can’t help it. I read The Hunger Games to take my mind off it, but at 3.30am, with my son and husband both asleep, I knew I had to try to get some sleep myself. I tried to count myself to sleep. I got to 660. I managed less than an hour’s sleep and got up at 7am.
My son wasn’t sick again, but he didn’t eat either. He lay on his bed all morning and the settee all afternoon.
So, with nothing else to do, my husband went back to the gardening, and my younger son stepped up to help him. My daughter painted the shed door and did some homework. I would have done some work, but I was just too tired. It was exactly the day I’d wanted to avoid, only worse because my son was ill.
We had booked for all five of us to go to see Eddie the Eagle on its opening day. It was clear my eldest couldn’t go, but he said he was happy for the rest of us to go. I didn’t like to leave him, but he was fine. He actually seemed more cheerful when we got back. It was good for me to get away, because when people are ill I’m stressed all the time – worrying about them and worrying about everyone else catching it. I know it’s completely pointless, but it’s just the way I am and I can’t change it. Getting away from it helped me to relax.
So, another day over Easter didn’t go to plan. I wonder when we will have the opportunity for day out again?