You might think this is an odd question, yet on our recent family holiday my son asked.
“Are we having a good holiday mum?” Due to extra sensory needs, sensitivity to noise, constant hyperactivity, add to that a severe case of anxiety when out in public and you will find, for us, holidays aren’t anywhere near relaxation time. They are a necessity, but to enjoy them we must work hard to find the perfect balance.
It breaks my heart, when my darling boy cannot see that he is having a good time, sometimes, to him he really can’t tell if what we are doing is fun. Yet he watches us enjoying the moments and hopefully one day he will look back on his childhood and remember we were doing our best to support and nurture his needs, along with his sisters.
Anxiety is a crippling condition, anxiety drives fear, the fear drives anger, what you are left with is a lot of trouble if you don’t recognise the signs. Keeping anxiety down is something we are trying to master, we are becoming experts in spotting the stress signs before they get too challenging. Although some days you just can’t plan for the unpredictability that is life.
We take a week of holidays every year within school time. No, not because its cheaper but because there are fewer people around. Trust me when I say crowds and too much noise do not mix well with our kind of paradise. If you had a child with extra needs wouldn’t you try to design their break to suit? If you are not a social butterfly the idea of empty beaches, bird watching and bush walks might be your kind of thing too.
We Are Different not Less
What regular kids find exciting and a whizz bang day out, my boy finds either really dull or far too over stimulating. So how do you find the perfect balance?
For us it is a fine line between keeping him happy and entertaining the other members of our family. Sometimes we have to split up, one parent takes our daughter to the movies or the shopping mall or to a fair whilst the other goes somewhere quiet for our son. Sometimes we have to push his boundaries and show him that certain experiences are fun in a supported environment. I admit also that some days we let him win and we don’t go anywhere, we call that down time.
A day spent at our favourite rock pools on the beach at Kattang Nature Reserve on the mid north coast, is a day we all look forward to. The winter sun was warm and the air felt invigorating with the a tang of eucalyptus. Our daughter counted 47 sea stars on her hunt through the pools. My husband walked and stalked the wild life with his camera. My son played in the water splashing about with a stick, as boys do. I found serenity watching them being happy, content we were all together and I, like my husband also fell in love with the patterns in the sand.
Maybe our holiday does not sound exciting, no fun parks or large crowds. Just us on the beach, living, breathing and laughing, our precious, peaceful memories a chance to recharge our well-worn batteries.
“That was really fun! We found 47 sea stars.” Yelled my daughter to her dad as we headed for the car.
“I liked the red one best.” Said the boy, throwing lumps of wet sand in the air. I smiled hoping one day he will remember the calm moments and know that yes, his holidays were golden.
How do you spend your holidays? With the crowds or on your own in the wilderness? Share your memories here with me.