The Red Front Door

peppaIt’s been a busy year.

My husband has worked really, really hard at his fledgling business.

our young daughter has developed in leaps and bounds needing more and more stimulation and activity.

I have lost a close friend plus had emergency spinal surgery – narrowly avoiding permanent paralysis of the legs. I should just be relieved and happy to have got through it all but really all I can think is Thank God we’re going on holiday because we’re all about to crash with the stress of the year so far…

We booked a hotel in Crete at an all inclusive (something we have never done before, being villa types usually. But we figure with a 4 year old it will be easier for all of us). It looks sublime online. 2 swimming pools, beautiful food and all the reviews rave about its ‘quiet location’ and secret hideaway status. Hmmm…..Not quite true but I’ll put that down as our 1st mistake – failure to properly research our destination.

2nd mistake? – We fail to really take into account how long the journey will be. With a 4 hour flight, journey to the airport, 2 hour check in and 2 hour transfer at the other end, it means that all in all our journey takes approx. 12 hours door to door and the daughter understandably eventually goes into meltdown. It’s all way too much for her little head to deal with and through exhausted eyes she starts crying and shouting ‘Are we in Greece yet? You said we were going to Greece! – Is Greece outside because I can’t see it anywhere’.

The husband and I are trying hard to stay upbeat about our family adventure but we’re also exhausted and maybe she picks up on it because things suddenly start to get a lot worse for her…

Once we get to our room we immediately try to cosy it up for her by putting some of her toys from home on the bed and reading books that she knows and loves, but it doesn’t work. The environment is alienating and it does her in… Desperately homesick and missing our dog  she starts to cry “I miss my home. This place hasn’t got a red door. I want our red front door”. That sounds sort of cute when I read it back but it was heart-wrenching in reality. She was drenched with fear and confusion and really struggling to cope. And this went on for hours…

And this was out 3nd BIG mistake – We somehow failed in epic proportions to prepare her for this trip. We had talked about it for weeks… all about the sea and the swimming pools and the big aeroplane – yet here she was… literally begging us to take her to back to familiarity.

Once she understood that going home that minute was not an option she became inconsolable and seemed to think we were lying to her… and my heart truly broke for her.

A long, long night of mania, acting out, hysteria and crying followed during which I reassured her it was ok to be sad and that we would be going back home soon – until she fell into a fitful sleep around 3am, red eyed and shaky from all the crying.

What followed for us? … guilt and a decision to return home in the morning if things had not improved.

We are now on day 3. She is enjoying it a bit more…splashing around in the pool, playing on the children’s rides in town and staying up later than usual. But when it starts to get dark and she’s finished playing for the day she sidles up to me and grabs my hand. “I miss my home mummy” she whispers, trying not to cry. “I know sweetheart” I say. “It’s Ok to miss it. I do too, but we’ll be back before you know it”. “Yes,” she says. “It’s not the end of the world is it?”

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One thought on “The Red Front Door

  1. Oh how I feel your pain. You just never know how it will pan out and the journey can be unsettling. On our first overseas holiday we were ready to go home after the first night too. We were definitely ready to go home after she tipped all the toiletries over the beds due to her inability to sleep. After 3 days things settled and we actually enjoyed the rest of the holiday. I hope that happens for you too. We’ve had other successful holidays now but the first 2 days are usually shockers! I hope you’re all ok xxx

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