(Lyrics from Empire State of Mind Part II, Alicia Keys)
We’ve been a family of three for about 9 years now. I would never have chosen to be a single parent as I really do believe that a family unit works best with two adults present. Many will disagree with this.
I’m not well travelled and my last experience of a “big” holiday was rocked to the core when my husband of 21 years decided to tell me he was leaving just two weeks before departure. The Disney experience was tainted, that’s for sure! Despite some fantastic memories laid down for the children it remains very difficult for me to recall this time with any fondness.
So when you have been living on a tight budget for a number of years and the daughter comes home with details of a college trip to New York for £2000 you have to explain that it’s really not fair to spend that amount of money on one person when the rest of us (yep, me) would love a holiday too. The hotel didn’t look great either! As it turns out, the weather in October 2012 also had quite an impact on this particular college trip.
So we decided to see if we could figure out an affordable, achievable holiday for three. First challenge – where would they like to go? Could two polar opposite offspring decide on a destination? Apparently yes New York. Well that’s not much of a break for me is it?
Challenge number 2. Hotels in New York are expensive, the budget might just stretch to 3 nights in February and they are really not set up for the kind of family dynamics that we have (one adult parent, one young adult female and a teenage male). The rooms are all 2 double beds and when you find one with alternative sleeping arrangements it’s usually a hotel for young travellers, students and the like. This is my holiday too and I didn’t want that. I wasn’t keen on the idea of living in one room with them either. I love them, but I like space. Who would sleep with whom? No, we didn’t like that idea!
Apartments! What about apartments? YES! That worked. Space. More beds. Bathrooms. Privacy. Breakfast in Pyjamas. Cheaper too, for longer, in April. Here’s the deal kids, you have to raise your own spending money and you’ll have to go without some things like Christmas presents otherwise it cannot be done. I wasn’t convinced it could be achieved or that they would go for that idea, but I underestimated them.
So here we are, now just days away from departure to our New York Adventure. I’ve had wobbles; I hated not spoiling them at Christmas and saying “no” so often. I almost didn’t get the money together; I can’t believe that I have.
What do I want from this? To realise that really big, practically impossible things can be achieved, to make holiday memories that don’t hurt and to spend time with them before they don’t want to spend time with me.
11 days to go.