Long gone are the days when Mr V and I could simply throw a few things into a bag, chuck said bag into the car and merrily go off on holiday without a care in the world! Now, it’s a bit like trying to herd cats… literally as it happens, as our two dogs seem to KNOW when we’re trying to leave the house and immediately vanish into thin air.
The furry feline fleabags aside, preparing for an imminent holiday begins days in advance; having a child with medical issues means that planning and preparation involves more than just checking we have enough of his medication to last the holiday. There’s organising his meals – as a fully blended diet fed chap, we make Sams meals at home and freeze them. They then need to be microwaved to heat them through. We either need to make sufficient to take with us (first question is then around storing them on route, we often stop overnight on longer journeys to give Sam a break.. que phoning ahead to wherever we’re staying to ask if they can store food for him in their freezer/reheat for him). Then, there’s the equipment issue – how to fit it all in the van.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the vehicular version of TETRIS. Insert one child in a wheelchair. Now, pack in bags etc around said child. Remember at some point on the trip you are likely to have to get child OUT of vehicle.
Remove bags, apologise to small person, repack bags in more sensible fashion. Accept that legroom is for people who don’t have children, especially not for those with children who have added extra’s. The worst bit is probably that we can’t actually pack in advance – a lot of the big stuff that needs to come with us is required right up to the morning we leave… Sam’s sleep system for instance. Only once the little chap is up and dressed can we dismantle it, pack it up and get it packed. Add in to the mix a minimum of two stressed adults and one very bored child and the whole thing becomes, well, eughggh.
Personally, I find the whole experience of going away incredibly stressful. I love it when we’re actually THERE, but the whole run up to it is just deeply unpleasant. My mantra is that as long as we remember Sam’s meds and equipment the rest can be bought on holiday is necessary. And so it will be that later on I will inevitably be seen in a supermarket somewhere buying socks, having made sure everyone was packed and ready. Except me.