The Annual Family Holiday

We’ve always tried to do the family summer holiday. We felt it was important to do the things that other families did even though we faced different challenges. With two boys and three and a half years between them and with the eldest having a severe learning disability and complex needs, I’m not going to lie….it wasn’t always easy.

Hotels were a definite No No. James can be very noisy and wake very early. In hotels I would be constantly anxious that we were disturbing other people and that would really stress me. Instead, our holidays were of the self-catering caravan or lodge variety which gave us the extra space we needed.

These would usually be on a site with a swimming pool as this was one activity we could all join in equally. Occasionally a bowling alley would also give us something to partake in together. If there was also some evening entertainment in the form of some music then that would be a bonus too as James loves his music.

Beyond that, it was often the case that my husband and I would do things separately with the boys. It wasn’t really the way I wanted to spend our holidays but it was the best way to meet both their needs and keep them happy. As Harry was typically sporty and active he and his dad would go off to occupy themselves or join in some organised activity as his dad was far better suited to do that than me.

The Annual Family Holiday

My husband would agree that I am far more suited and able to know how to keep James entertained. It was very much a busman’s holiday for me as this was also a large part of my role at home. It also often meant James and I were indoors to do his favourite activities and yet I’d want to be outside doing something too.  

Now my youngest is 24years old he is well and truly over the ‘family holiday’. This is far too stressful for him and he certainly doesn’t want to be woken by 6am every morning. Instead, Darryl, James and myself holiday just the three of us.

As James moved into his own home in Supported Accommodation three years ago, taking him away for a few days holiday also now gives us a nice opportunity to spend some quality time with him.

Last Year Was a Success.

In just a few weeks time we are returning to the same holiday park we went to last year. The park has pleasant areas to walk with James, an indoor and outdoor pool, a little café where James can have cake and we hired a large lodge with a hot tub and private garden. A bonus too is that it’s only a 45minute drive from James’ home and as he doesn’t really enjoy the car this is a very positive thing.

So, this year as we did last year, I will pack a big box of James’ puzzles, books and iPad. Along with his favourite foods and not forgetting his swimming shorts we will set off for the short journey for James’ summer holiday. And this really is all he will need to keep him happy and if we are really very lucky James may even sleep in beyond 6am……here’s hoping.    

About Helen Horn

I am mum to two young men. My eldest son James, who is 27 years old, has a diagnosis of Wolf- Hirschhorn Syndrome and Autism. On my blog I write about my life as a mum of a child with additional needs and about the experiences I’ve had moving my son into supported accommodation.

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