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Separation Anxiety

How I Left One Behind

Gosh, I can’t believe how quickly the holidays have passed! Although our six weeks of school holidays were very helpfully broken up by 2 weeks in the middle with a very exciting road trip to Austria…

Passports, Tickets, Money…

The packing was done, the car was serviced, cleaned and ready and we were all set. I just had to make sure all the paperwork and passports were packed together in my bag.  Always love having a look at the passport photos, especially the boys as they’ve changed so much!  It was at that point that my heart sank, I started to shake, surely that couldn’t be right.  Because if it was then we had a big, big problem.  I sank to the floor and just stared at H’s passport… It had run out the previous month.

Helpless

There are not many times in my life where I’ve felt utterly sick and totally helpless.  I won’t go into all the detail, but it included the OH driving with H to Durham Passport Office at 7 in the morning the next day in the hope we could get a one-day turnaround.

Unfortunately, he was 10 and needed to be 12 to get a one day.  The only option, the turnaround of a week, but we’d need an appointment at the Passport Office the next day.  Oh, and by the time we got the passport, we’d have to fly him out at a cost of at least £700 (half the cost of the whole holiday!!!).  Even then he’d only get to then spend 3 days on holiday and then it was time to come home.

What to do?

I was at work whilst all of this was going on, by 11:30 am I could not stand it anymore (well to be fair I couldn’t stop crying so wasn’t much use to anyone) and came home.  It gave me the chance to sit with H.  He quickly explained that he really wanted to spend the two weeks with grandma and grandpa (who’d offered immediately) and that he was absolutely fine with not going.

Now I could explain why I finally decided to leave H with his grandparents but it would take to long.  And actually, what does it matter because I know that people will judge no matter what.  We immediately had a few comments directed towards us.  It hurt, it always will and especially to me as I feel it’s totally my fault.  I don’t need to hear others tell me it’s not my fault, or that it’s one of those things.  I did it, it was my fault and I will have to live with the separation anxiety it caused.

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Guilt, Guilt, Guilt

The holiday itself wasn’t free of issues.  As we were driving over our apartment had to be changed due to unforeseen circumstances, we ended up in a huge apartment that slept 9-11 people with only 4 of us.  With no washing machine (we’d packed for having one) and faulty WiFi which wouldn’t have been such an issue if we didn’t want/need to face-time H daily! Luckily the boys loved it and I have to say it was very beautiful.  However, I was never able to truly enjoy as I missed H too much, the separation anxiety was dreadful.  Occasionally when I did find myself relaxing and enjoying I’d then feel truly guilty and that would set me off again. There were a lot of tears on my part, I didn’t really want to be there if I’m honest.  But I had to do what was best for my kids not me.

Lessons Learnt

What the holiday did do was teach me an awful lot about myself and my boys.  H for example immediately made the decision himself that he was happy to stay at home.  He didn’t falter once and had a whale of a time with all his grandparents (spent time with my mum too).  He messaged us (usually when he wanted to buy something) and face-timed us but was also quite happy if we had a day where WiFi failed us and we couldn’t talk face to face.  F admitted a couple of days into the holiday that if it had been him, he wouldn’t have coped without us bless.  But he was the one that thrived on holiday, he quickly picked up the basics of German and loved any opportunity to use.  I saw several occasions where he’d wait patiently to ask for something in German, being ignored initially by adults.  If that had been H, he’d have given up after the first minute and asked us to deal with.  My kids’ strengths were definitely put in the right area this holiday.

Reminders

I was very wary of taking pics with just the two boys in all the time as didn’t want that to be H’s first memory of Austria. So instead what we did was take lots of pictures with S’s little friends Raven & Snow on their adventures.  It meant we can produce a fab book about Austria for H with everywhere that they visited, for when we go back next time.

There will always be judgement from others and yes our holidays have certainly been eventful.  However having to live with that separation anxiety, will stay with me for a very long time. I hope no-one as a parent ever has to go through that experience so please go check your passports! I’ve never let any run out again – actually, the passport office would make a fortune if they did a text message reminder service, I’d certainly pay for that!

Much Love,

Fay x

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