Being Matthew’s mum [on holiday]
We’ve just booked a week’s holiday in Cromer for our summer holidays!
It’s a lovely place, and we’re lucky to be going on holiday as I know some families can’t go away for whatever reason, and I don’t feel brave enough to go abroad again.
We went abroad last year to France on the ferry for the first time ever with children – it was a lovely holiday, but very hard work!
Picture this – we stayed in a little static caravan type thing, couldn’t get Matthew’s chair through the doors, no bath, just a shower in a tiny little bathroom, steps up to the decking area and entrance to the caravan. I realised then that this might be the last holiday we could have where we could just go online, find a nice place to go in our budget, and book it.
Now Matthew is getting bigger we have to think about wheelchair access, bathrooms, beds, etc. and I don’t think we’ll ever be able to go anywhere like Robin Hood’s Bay again!
There are so many things to think about, and that’s before you’ve even begun to think about what you are going to do on the holiday. Going to the beach is a mission with all the equipment needed, then you can’t wheel a wheelchair on the beach, so you have to leave that at the top and carry him down with all the stuff you are already carrying.
I’ve looked into accessible holidays abroad so we can make it as easy as possible for us to enjoy the sun and give us all a great and relaxing holiday to remember, but I can’t believe how much they cost! If you want a bigger room on the ground floor (somewhere Matthew can be easily transferred to the pool) a special chair to get him on the beach and in the sea, a plane which can accommodate him etc. you need to win the lottery!
I see people with their children who are similar ages as James and Matthew. Their children play on the beach, run around, splash in the sea, jump in the pool, play on playgrounds, play on the slot machines. Matthew can’t do any of this, so trying to entertain him is not easy. I imagine when kids get older holidays are a bit easier because they can play or swim or make friends while you sit and watch, and maybe even drink a beer in the sun! You can also do activities together as a family, where everyone can join in.
With most children the same age as mine, you no longer need changing bags and pushchairs and hundreds of spare clothes, and snacks and nappies and bottles – just some clothes and toiletries and you’re off!
I know family holidays aren’t always sunshine and happiness – there’s whinging and arguing and rain, and kids not wanting to do things, and the parents getting stressed. However, I know we’ll have a lovely time on holiday, but I always come back feeling like I need another holiday to recover!
Footprints Conductive Education Centre is a small charity based in Nottingham.
They make such a difference to the lives of children with disabilities AND their parents and families – it really is life-transforming. If you are a company seeking to support a local charity making a difference in the local community, please get in touch. They need £200,000 every year to help families like mine.
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