We are mid summer holiday season and everything seems to slow down for a few weeks, unless you're an ice cream seller and the weather plays ball. I remember the enforced jollity of cramming into our Singer Gazelle (a very small saloon) with my four siblings, our pipe smoking father, our mother and a poodle. Oh what fun we had puling into seemingly every layby between Buckinghamshire and Ayrshire for my mother to attend to one or two of her vomiting children. The pipe smoke was never seen in those days as the probable cause of the nausea, let alone the risky business of passively inhaling the by product of a plug of smouldering tobacco.
Father saw it as a good excuse to stretch his legs as we were all swabbed down with a flannel doused in disinfectant. No drive through Starbucks for us, oh no! The parents drank tea from a tartan thermos flask and we all shared a bottle of tepid diluted Kiora orange squash and some rich tea biscuits. Quite frankly it took me years to work through the mental fall out from this particular family pursuit and I still have an aversion to pipe smoke and weak orange squash. My lesson from this was always gear a family holiday around your children and away from adults wanting a quiet time. Do this or suffer the misery they will inflict upon you. We were not allowed to complain but pretending to be ill or losing our outdoor shoes became a nice little pastime to break the boredom of brisk walks along the beach.
I used to take my four children to a lido and they had donkey rides, ice creams and all the sandcastles they could build. We did venture to Mallorca too but it was to a family hotel with children's activities all day long. I felt sorry for the rep who obviously drew the short straw in getting the breakfast club snail hunt after clearly being on the pina coladas until dawn. Still it meant I could relax in the sun with a croissant or two and a coffee.
Holidays can be relaxing or they can be the breaking point for some people living in difficult circumstances. If there are underlying issues going on then spending time together is likely to make the situation worse. My parents thought that they were doing the right thing in taking us away on holiday each year. In fact these holidays were not much fun at all and we children bore the brunt of the tension and stress that they were living with.
If you are living with tensions and stress then perhaps its a good idea to work through these before packing the buckets and spades. Enforced jolliness is really hard to deal with whether it is you trying too hard to dish it out or being on the receiving end.
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