My fabulous Fiancé surprised me by announcing that he had booked the two of us a week long holiday in Tenerife. I had to muster as much enthusiasm as he expected to receive but I could tell he was miffed that I was seemingly such an ungrateful cow. He couldn’t have been more wrong; grateful was an understatement! I would have been jumping up and down and doing the Can Can for the next six months if it weren’t for the massive brick engraved with ‘Mother’s Guilt’ engraved on it, which was repeatedly smashing me in the face each time I thought about the holiday. ‘Bad Mummy’ BANG, ‘Abandoning your babies’ SMACK, ‘Selfish bad, bad Mum’ WHACK.
As I tried to push guilt aside and rationalise that I needed time away to recuperate from the worst past three years imaginable, the realisation that the holiday was unlikely to happen quickly set in. How the heck could I get someone to look after the kids for an entire week? Before I could mumble this sentence out, Hubby2B grinned at me “Kids are spending the week with Auntie Sarah and your parents so no excuses”. I sighed. God I love this man! ‘Bad, selfish Mum’ arghh.. shut up brain, shut up heart, shut up, shut up, shut up….
“Mum, he can’t breathe” my daughter informed me amused, as six months later, my son hung limply in my arms, accepting his fate of death by Mum hugs. I reluctantly released him and then dragged her over for her turn “Watch my hair” she warned…Teenagers!
At the airport, the hubster suggested a vodka or six to try and relax my abandonment jitters. I knew the kids were ecstatic to be spending time with humans who don’t hug and smother them every time that they pass into or out of every room, so I bought a beer the size of my head and willed my holiday spirit to kick in; if not then hard liquor spirits were my plan B.
Slightly wobbly, I trawled the airport shops. Blasted with seven different stinks from the perfume counters, a bumper bag of sucking sweets for aeroplane ear popping prevention, I was delightedly gripping a smutty novel which I had been dying to read for a month but seat squirming with kids in the house is a complete fail! He unzipped his ….”Muuumm Where’s my straightners?” She felt his huge, bulging…..”Muuuumm Tell her to leave me alone”… ugh, I give up!
On board our Ryanair flight, I was relieved to be sat between my man and a nice dude who was reading a guide to meditation. Good, that means he will be silent the whole flight I thought. Hmmm.. Yes, that he would have been if I hadn’t commented on the shocked look on his face as he handed over £7.98 for a single Jack Daniels and mini Coke. With a fixed smile on my face, I nodded along as he told me his stories whilst wishing that I could read the story that I had just paid for; this guy’s story was more mantra than tantra.
We stepped off the plane and the gorgeous Tenerife sunshine wrapped us up in a hot hug. Hubby and I turned to each other and grinned. That was the moment “Woo Hooo.. Holiday time” I excitedly clapped.
In the arrivals terminal, we joined up with a group of friends from my fella’s work, who had booked the same complex as us. A great bunch that I knew would be fun to be around. Our apartments were Los Geranios in Playas Las Americas. It was close enough to everything but far enough away from the 18-30s party animals so that I didn’t feel like a frumpy old fogie for the week. Our apartment was perfect, right next to the pool. I flopped onto the bed and watched hubby as he began unpacking his suitcase. Typical army sergeant, gets organised whereas me, I had better things to do! I threw him one of ‘those smiles’ and described a raunchy chapter from my book until he abandoned unpacking and gave me some attention. Ok, so I never actually read the book and the raunch was from my own imagination, but he fell for it all the same. I just wish army dudes didn’t insist on folding every item of discarded clothing first!
We had grand plans for our first day in Tenerife. Beaches, tapas, shopping, exploring but what we did was soo much better. Sod all. We made it as far as the pool and for the next six hours we lay in absolute bliss. Slimy from sun lotion and sunshine sweats, we alternated between sizzling and swimming. Of course, my definition of swimming is shortarse me, clinging to my man with a near death grip, whilst he wandered the width of the pool whispering sweet nothings; I interjected with occasional panicked warnings that I was snorting the chlorine. We were in our own little love bubble whilst all around us, topless Brits bobbed in the water. It looked like tit soup!
That night we met the others for a meal and drinks. Classic Brits abroad, we snubbed the local dishes and ordered steak and chips. I ordered a vodka and coke and took a big swig which I promptly choked on. My friends laughingly informed me that drinks over there were 90% alcohol and 10% mixer. I declined the offer of diluting with more cola, I can take my booze!
So, utterly hammered after two drinks, I found myself wrestling the microphone from the singing Irishman in a nearby pub. Apparently I was most entertaining as I bantered between off key renditions of Country Roads. I will take their word for it. I woke up the next morning with a ripped fingernail, a bruised shin and as I crawled out of bed, my knee skidded in spewed steak. After that, I was much more mindful of my alcohol intake…I didn’t drink less but I did think about it a lot more.
The next day we headed to the beach. The sunshine was blissful. “Hey Del Boy, you wanna buy a watch?” The first of a thousand street sales guys asked. “No thank you mate”. We were pleased to find the sand so soft and the sun loungers so inviting. There were lots of places to eat and drink and …”Hey Lady, you like a necklace? Buy two get ten free?” “No thanks”. We sat in a lovely tapas restaurant where I could hack into the wifi to check the kid’s school Twitter feeds and send illicit imessages to my daughter, who shouldn’t have her phone on in class. “Thank you for bringing me here handsome” I sighed happily as Hubs held my hand. “I love …What?…Oh for Christ’s sake…NO, SOD OFF WITH YER BLOODY WATCHES - ARGGHH” We had a fab day despite being practically chased back to the hotel by a succession of watch, hat, necklace and ‘lucky ticket’ sales guys.
Every night at 8.30pm prompt, I called home to talk to the kids. Every night they happily told me about their day and had not a single gripe for me to worry about. They were even happier still when we told them that Hubby and I had booked the same hotel again and would be bringing them with us in August.
My 36th birthday slapped me awake on day five. I woke up hungover and older – not a welcome combination for a woman! Hubby had a birthday treat for me. He was taking me para-sending. Did you know that they dunk your arse in the sea? I know that now!!! Dressed in denim shorts and a white t-shirt, completely drenched, we sloshed our way off the pier. I headed to the nearest dodgy dress shop, leaving Hubby hobbling behind after an unfortunate ball strangulation caused by the boat harness. Unable to bring myself to wear any of the dresses, damn pride, I joined my man and our friends at a bar wearing what I thought were the funkiest of Cheryl Cole style kecks ever. Hubby’s face said otherwise – literally “Pyjamas Lynz? Really”? He plonked his giant t-shirt over my head and offered me a seat near the back. We stayed out dancing and karaoke’ing until 3am though so I couldn't have looked that foolish, despite what the photographs are telling me now.
On our last night, I sat on our terrace with a mug of tea, a deck of cards and a well-thumbed smutty novel. I could not remember the last time I had felt so relaxed. It had been a wonderful holiday and although I was desperate for my kid’s cuddles, I didn’t want to leave. My lovely man theatrically sauntered out to join me and in one swift move landed a kiss on my forehead and kicked the door shut. “Noooo” I bellowed as he jumped out of his skin and began looking around him like a frantic meerkat. “Tell me you brought the keys out with you”? I pleaded. Facepalm! I tutted as I trotted off to look for someone, anyone, who would have had a spare key to our room and still be around in the early hours. Did I mention that these were privately rented apartments? No luck.
So my fella attempted the kind of mission that only hammered people attempt. Standing on top of his friend’s back untill he could haul his 6ft frame through a tiny window, that was honestly *cough* already broken *ahem*, and dangle precariously inside until he finally slithered through; it was a scene reminiscent of ‘One Born Every Minute’.
Next day and back at the airport, the post-holiday blues hit. Back to work, rain and life stresses. The airport shop tried to charge me £7 for a bag of Werthers Orignals. ‘Pfft..forget that, I’d rather take my chances’ I thought to myself. I was stoopid! I spent the final hour of the journey trying to gouge my brain out through my ears in an attempt to stop the painful throbbing so common with cabin pressure. I must have looked so elegant to the chatty meditation dude, who was again next to us, as I held my nose and snorted so hard that my eyes could easily have sprang out of my face.
Our baggage was dumped in our hallway at 1am. We were shattered! Leaving the Sergeant to his unpacking and folding frenzy, I crept upstairs to look in on my babies. Yes, I realise that at 10 and 12 years old, they are blimmin big babies but still… I smushed them as much as I could and debated waking them when Hubby2B poked his head round the door. One of ‘those smiles’ lit up his face. Silently, oh so silently, I tiptoed from the room. Obviously the holiday wasn’t officially over yet ;-)