As the holiday seasons approach so many people start to ask, “You all going anywhere nice? What are your plans?” For many, it’s the perfect time as a family to spend a week or two in a bubble of exuberance and enjoyment with the people you love away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life - away from home!
- New clothes - check
- Bags – check
- Suntan lotion – check
- Passports - check
This is the idyllic picture that we all hope for and dream that our holiday is like, how I envy those perfect family smiles and perfectly shot pictures in the brochures.
Unfortunately though, in the special needs world our planning for such events requires a little more military precision.
Our checklist looks more like this:
New clothes – they feel funny/ I want my old ones/ I don’t want short sleeves
Bags – all 20 of them with every comfort item we own
Suntan lotion – it’s not burning your skin, forget that (avoids meltdown)
Passports – not needed . . . we're staying in the UK
I have friends with children who have wheelchairs or feeding apparatus that I can only imagine dread the preparation to get to those few precious days break.
My holiday searches are quiet, secluded locations (we are going on our 3rd log cabin break shortly) – they are lower key than a 3-8 hour flight to a foreign climate.
I search, “What’s nearby?” to plan in advance days out to see if it’s something he might likes the idea of.
I would love for it to be a surprise, but part of his condition is that he needs to know what the routine will be, right down to what food is served in particular establishments to know in advance what would fit in with his limited diet.
Last year we did a sun holiday break in the lovely seaside town of New Quay.
The weather was perfect and we picked out activities that were done at Cameron’s pace. We went with friends and it was a delightful experience.
I am very fortunate in that Cameron now enjoys our cabin breaks and this has become part of his routine; and we were able to tackle the flying side of holidaying with having family in Northern Ireland, so many little 40 minute short flights built up his tolerance.
The things we can’t plan are never far away though; those spanners waiting in the wings ready to throw themselves into the mix, the flight delays or traffic jams.
This is where we reach for technology in the form of tablets or phones and copious amounts of treats to ease the fraught situation.
We are now gearing up and working towards Florida in a couple of years, which I anticipate to be the true test.
So good luck to us all this year in our plans to get some quality time and rest with our families.
Let’s try to delight ourselves in the experience and not despair!