This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.
So back from idyllic weekend with Charles straight to packing for a week away with my beloved boys – excited beyond belief and it is with sadness I realise I have not been away with both of them for three years. Not only do I not see enough of my sons, they do not see much of each other either.
The flight is fairly quick and uneventful. We watch a movie together and it passes in a flash. We are off promptly and I leave the boys to retrieve the luggage while I go to sort out the hire car. This is with some trepidation as I don’t remember driving on the left very much! They seem to have a sensible system (once I have sussed it out). You queue outside in the oppressive heat, take a ticket (like at a delicatessen counter), check yourself in on touchscreen pads and then they call you in (to a cool air conditioned office) – ie once you have done 90% of the work yourself! It takes a while to get to grips with the computer and I am hot and tired – as well as worried that I am separated from my boys. (Boys? Both are, in reality, strapping men over 6ft and more than capable!)
While battling through, I get a text alert and grab my phone hoping it’s the boys on their way. Unbelievably it is from Graham (from Ascot) and is – OMG – yet another picture of his willy!!! I have deleted him some time since from my contacts but it looks like I am still on his mind. I actually snort and laugh out loud! The timing is just hilarious. I turn around to find my boys who have safely retrieved our luggage and within minutes the car is there too – for once I have taken out the extra insurance they always try to flog you. EH (ex husband) would have never taken it and to be fair never needed to – however I am feeling more cautious and better safe than sorry.
Youngest child – passed his driving test all of five weeks ago – finds it hilarious that I am driving like a beginner. Not just that I struggle with the manual shift but everything is on the wrong side. Luckily eldest takes on navigation and we arrive at our splendid apartment in no time. It really is quite gorgeous and set on the seafront in a faultless location. It is huge, airy, tasteful and wonderful and my spirits soar – the boys however are sharing a twin room – something they have not done for about 16 years. But they actually muck in and help as we unpack and get bearings. We hit the supermarket where we don’t have euros for trollies so have about five baskets between us – mostly filled with alcohol! Wine that costs €3 and tasted divine? How does that happen! Bottles of beer and bottles of water – I am glad I have them to help load and unload the car.
Our surroundings are wonderful and we relax and chill. We visit stunning beach bars, drink sangria, eat fish and laugh and tease each other and I am blissfully happy. I relish their company in a way I never have before – being without them is so so tough as a mother and now they are these wonderful human beings that I adore.
However I realise with disappointment I cannot for the life of me remember which one likes mayo and which hates it; who loves sweetcorn and who thinks it is devil’s droppings! Aargh! I fuss over them – cooked breakfasts, indulgent snacks and leisurely lunches, but we do eat out every evening. The adoration is not however mutual on all occasions, as I am remained that:
a) Apparently I know absolutely nothing about (young) men’s fashion
b) I seriously don’t know anything about modern music or artists and “No, Ed Sheeran sounds nothing like Justin Timberlake.” (Does to me!!)
c) my driving (and parking) whilst on the wrong side of the road is a bit sketchy at best – but luckily not hit anything or killed anyone yet. Thank goodness I took out that extra insurance.
One evening I stay up reading my compulsive book until 2 am. God I love a great page turner. When I finish, I feel emotionally exhausted by the climax of the story and go to our beautiful verandah to drink a cup of tea. The stars, as often the case, are so sharp and sparkly here and I gaze in awe and then my attention is drawn to the ground floor apartment on my left where the lights are still on – OMG a pole dancer. Really! Yes the whole chrome pole / tiny black costume / huge 7 inch crazy platforms – and off she goes upside down and round and round!! Not sure if anyone else is in there or whether she is alone? I am just grateful I am alone on the balcony without my boys feasting their eyes on what I can see! So much for upmarket 🙁