Where are we going to go for our family holiday this summer? It has been the subject of much heated debate in our house this week.
My daughter, Julie’s illness has meant that we have not had a family holiday – as in all four of us together – for the past three years. This is the first year that we can even begin to imagine it happening, but there are a lot of constraints. As I found out on our brief visit to Paris, travel with Julie needs to be taken very steadily and carefully. We managed Paris by train in winter, but a busy airport at the height of summer – and we are still locked into school holidays – is more stressful. If this is going to be a holiday we all enjoy, it looks like the best bet will be somewhere that we can reach easily by car, without going through any security barriers. A good old-fashioned British seaside holiday beckons.
The difficulty is Julie’s younger brother, Duncan, now turning fifteen. His last experience of a family summer holiday was an age ago, when he was just a child – and he is now a teenager. For the last couple of years, he has been treated to holidays alone with one parent – first his Dad, then me – travelling abroad, free from his sister, seeing the world. For him, any sort of family holiday is a retrograde step, let alone one practically on the doorstep, in dismal Britain. Quite understandably, he would rather not go on holiday at all, and is petitioning to be left behind. He won’t be – he is just too young.
What can we do? My husband and I desperately want to have a holiday anywhere where we can be together, Julie has to be with us but cannot travel far, my son wants to be anywhere else than with us! It looks like there is no compromise that can be reached. The likelihood is that we will go ahead and book ourselves a seaside retreat, and have to endure sharing it with a sullen and uncooperative teenage boy.