It’s my 40’th and my husband and I, after seven years of marriage and nearly five years of having children, are going on a holiday, just the two of us. I am packing my sexiest lingerie which I haven’t worn since my honeymoon, when my eldest walks into the bedroom and asks me where am I going. I turn to her and try not to look too happy when I say: “Mummy’s going to Vegas baby!”
Don’t know about you, but me and my husband used to have lots of fun holidays before the kids came along. From nightclubs and fancy bars in New York City, to lounging by the pool and doing absolutely nothing in the Caribbean, we knew how to have a good time.
But ever since the kids have come along those fabulous, carefree holidays have made place for ‘family friendly’ holidays. You know what I mean, they’re called ‘holidays’ but what they really are is hard work for mummy and daddy. I’m talking about waking up at 6:00 in the morning, spending the whole day chasing, entertaining and pleasing the kids, while making sure they don’t kill each other, having a buffet dinner at 18:00, then sitting in the room and whispering so not to wake them until finally passing out at 21:00 knowing we have to do it all over again tomorrow. We normally return from these holidays shattered and swear “never again!” but with time we forget and once more fall victims to the ‘all inclusive’ package holidays before we know it.
So for my 40’th we decide it’s time to get out of our comfort zone and just do it, our first ‘kids free’ holiday since we’ve been married! We book a five star, six days package holiday to Las Vegas literally nearly one year in advance and forget all about it. It’s at the back of my mind throughout the year. I can just picture myself by the pool, in the spa, eating fab food any time I want, getting pissed, sleeping in late and I can’t wait.
But a few weeks before the actual trip I start getting cold feet. The thought of leaving the kids is killing me, and all these horrible thoughts of ‘what if’ won’t stop bugging me. What if something happens to them when I am gone? What if I need to get back to them urgently and can’t get a flight back? What if they miss me and they are miserable? What if our plane crashes and we die and they are left all alone? All these thoughts are driving me crazy and I am very close to cancelling the whole thing.
My husband thinks I am just being silly but I can tell he is starting to take me seriously when he actually checks with a few friends if they fancy going with him instead of me. At this point I realise that I need to face my fears and take the control back so I decide to do everything I can to make it easier for me to leave my kids, for six days, and go all the way across the ocean.
First I have to deal with my fear of flying which I’ve had since my twenties and has become worse since becoming mum. To overcome this I go on a ‘Flying without Fear’ course a few weeks before our trip and spend the whole day with very smart people who explain everything to me about planes and flying and it does actually make me feel better. We take to the sky at the end of the day and it’s like a party. People are clapping, crying with joy and I think to myself “these people have lost their minds” but then I realise we are up in the sky and I am not afraid one bit!
Next, I safe proof the house (which was already safe obviously) and add gates, locks and soft edges on everything! I make a list of emergency contact numbers, doctors’ numbers, hospital addresses, first aid procedures, foods to be avoided, pictures of rashes to look out for and I stock up on any, and every, medicines the girls have ever needed since the day they were born.
As if that isn’t enough, I also take out a Will, life insurance, pay all my debts and write a ‘goodbye’ letter, just in case. I place it in my bedside drawer and I let someone I trust know where it is.
Finally, I take up a friend’s suggestion and prepare a chart for the kids with drawings of each day we will be gone and what we, and they, will be doing on each day.
All of this makes me feel better but it is still not enough. You see, this is the first time I am going to be away from my children for so long and I am not just going up the road, am I? It sounds so silly given the fact most days they drive me up the wall and I can’t wait for them to go to bed so I can have some peace, yet here I am, just a few days to go and I still don’t know if I can do it.
My husband sits me down for a chat. I can see that if I don’t do this I am in trouble. I can also see how much he wants this and suddenly I realise that it’s not because he really wants to go to Vegas but rather because he wants to go there with me. For the first time in the past few weeks I start thinking about that. About what this trip would mean to us, to our marriage, to our family. And that old saying “happy parents, happy children” enters my mind.
Our lives surround the children most of the time and I think that’s very normal. We are a great team and we enjoy parenthood with its ups and downs like many others, but for the past few years since becoming parents the amount of time spent, just the two of us, just having fun, has been minimal and actually, I kind of miss it. So that night, I decide that no matter what happens, we are going to Vegas and from that point on there is no turning back.
I won’t tell you everything that happens in Vegas cos you know the saying… “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” but some of the highlights include seeing Britney Spears perform live and my personal favorite is renewing our wedding vows at the Graceland Chapel with ‘The King’ himself walking me down the aisle.
I can honestly say that it is by far the BEST holiday I have ever had.
Ironically the kids do not miss us AT ALL. They are surrounded by people who love them dearly and look after them with the greatest care. We bring back a suitcase full of gifts and they show us the chart they have been crossing out since we left. Within less than an hour it feels like we never went, except for the fact that we both know we will always have Vegas and that is something I am so grateful for.
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