If there was an emoji for ‘feeling slightly suicidal’ which could indicate in all of it’s tiny wonder a tongue in the cheek just to lessen the blow, I would use it. A lot. Do I want to reveal how, on a beautiful blue sky day (the first in about 3 weeks), a blank page of staying at home-ness, sharing holiday fun with 3 of my boy children, I am feeling the ever present prickle of little tears behind my caffeine enhanced lids? Yes, I do want to reveal.
I have visited cheery Facebook pages with heaps of activities to fill the two weeks of Spring break. Lambs to visit, walks to be had, trams to ride. Been there, done that, my children are too old. Old hat Activity weary 9 year olds and a positively Done Too Many Times Activity wary 11 year old do not an easy holiday make. Family visits out of town and high times with the cuzzies would cut it, but most of our cousins live in the UK and the Kiwi family are all city bound and short on age appropriate players. Even the begged for soccer programme failed to deliver, the promised age specific training not getting off to the best start when the 11 year old found himself paired off with the 6 year olds. He was the only one of his age.
So I scoured a website of Holiday activities. Let’s just pick 3 activities my kids would enjoy.
Go Karting – (starts from) $65/day (10am-2pm)
Drama – (starts from $75/day (9am-3pm)
Survival Skills – $130/day (9am-3pm)
That’s 3 days taken care of. For three children. That’s $810 plus food and drink, plus travel to venues up to an hour away, which means that basically my day would be taken out by the sheer traveling time. That’s not much change from $1000 for three days keeping the smalls happy. Three days. $1000. I know I’ve said it lots. Hence the emoji.
The other thing that this unpalatable exercise does is bring out the sense of failure. The red hot judgement with which I gaze upon myself. Where did I miss the career opportunity that would have led to my being able to sign the cheques without a second glance and make my children happy. Oh what I would give right now for that smug feeling of achievement, the joy I would get from the high fives my children would give me as they marched out of the house on the way to their own success in a world where telling your offspring to ‘learn to appreciate boredom – let your mind unwind’ is a communist conspiracy.
I blame myself. But it’s hard to live with the weight of the decisions that led to this. Let’s see if I can take solace in numbers. I have already spent a total of 11 and a half years planning, executing and financing holiday time for my five children and I have a total of 5 and a quarter years of holiday time left before graduation from school is completed. Er, emoji, where are you? At a time in my life when what I crave is a silent retreat and to finally succeed in earning a crust of self-esteem, this is giving me the shakes, the heeby-geebies and too much cortisol racing around my eco-system. It’s not a holiday programme I need, it’s a survival programme.
Right after this I am going to take a cushion and sit on my deck in the sunshine. I shall drink another coffee even though I’ve had my quota. I shall close my eyes and expose my winter skin to the glorious dangerous UV rays and rebel for a full ten minutes. I shall listen to the spring birds and feel the caprices of the spring wind. I shall do nothing and try not to let the prickles turn into tears, but if they do I shall lick their lovely saltiness from my cheeks (well maybe my lips, my tongue isn’t freakishly long) and let it go.
PS Snapshot for 5 minutes of the 16 and a quarter holiday years: One child is making sherbet, another just complemented me on my scones and is kicking a soccer ball and the other is sitting in the sunshine stroking the cat. The tears may fall. 🙂