It was my first time abroad to this country, my Mum before she retired had a house built abroad and when I was six weeks pregnant, she emigrated. It was a strange time before Mum left. I cried like I was in mourning, but eventually I consoled myself that somewhere in the world she was still with me, for I could write her a letter and she would get it within two weeks and I would get her reply two weeks after that; unlike my Husband, whose parents were deceased. It was still hard to be happy for Mum, but she had worked hard all her life, as an Intensive Care Premature Baby Nurse, doing just nights. She more than deserved to enjoy her retirement wherever she liked, so I was happy for her.
When we were in our Teens Mum encouraged encouraged her children, to save via the Insurance Man who came to our home every Friday, he took our our savings each week, which was recorded in a little book. My Brothers who earned more than me saved more, and after many years my Brothers gradually stopped. I had carried on and kept it up even when I moved away from home and had got married.
Then one day the Insurance Man said to me. “I can have all my money now, or I can carry on saving” I asked him, “How much was the money?” When he informed me, I said to my Husband, Fred, “We should use the money to pay off our debts.” Fred said, “No, I should take the children and go visit my Mum, as we will never have this amount of money again, to be able to do this, he would stay with the animals and decorate the house.”
So that's what we decided to do. I was so excited I rang Mum and told her! Mum had always said I should have brought the kids before they were two years old as its cheaper. Baby Meghan was just under two and Daniel had just turned three. We went and booked the coach and the flights. Meghan had no seat on the coach or the plane. Insurance was just paid for her! I was worried having her on my lap for the coach journey but thankfully there were some spare seats so that was OK.
Mum told me not to bring too much luggage, and to make sure I had enough nappies for Meghan as they were very expensive there. We bought a folding second hand pushchair for the journey, so Meghan could sleep and I could put one of the bags under the pram. I bought toddler body harness for both children and dummies were attached to both.
The day arrived. The taxi picked us up at 4am to take us to the coach station. I had with me three small shoulder bags, with each of our clothes in and a forth bag for the nappies and the pushchair.
When we arrived at London airport in plenty of time, we were informed that the aeroplane would be delayed for EIGHT HOURS! My heart sank! They gave us all food vouchers to use in the restaurant, Meghan didn't have one just Daniel and myself, as she didn't exist. It was hard work with my little bags, pram and two Toddlers. At one point I was in a very long queue and a man who worked at the airport came to me ask and me if that was all my luggage, I replied “Yes.” He took me out the long queue and he put me in a much smaller one.
Eventually, I was in a very large waiting area, I had found somewhere quiet where no one was was near me. Little Daniel had crashed and was fast asleep on three chairs and Meghan was crying non-stop in her pram. A middle aged couple came up to me surveyed the scene and said to me, “How can we help?” I looked up at them and said, “I really need to go to the Bathroom” they looked around quickly and said, “It is over there, we will look after your Children, you go.” Now, if anyone had said to me, “One day in the distant future, you will leave your precious Children with complete strangers and they will be completely out of your sight and you will go to the loo,” I would say, “No way, would I ever do that!” Yet that is exactly what I did! I was bursting to go. And I thought for a moment and said, “I will be SO quick, I won't even wash my hands!” They replied, “There is no need to rush, you have plenty of time to also wash your hands.” I ran to the loo, it was round the corner and far away. I didn't wash my hands. A thousand thoughts raced through my mind, “What had I done?, How could I have been SO foolish, Fred will kill me! How could I have left my kids, WHY did I do it! I should have said, “Thanks but, no thanks.” It was an awful moment as I returned round the corner and all four of them was still there!!! I would NEVER do that again!
I sat back down, and thanked them. Again they asked, “How can we help?” I asked if they could look again if the take off time had changed, the Gentleman went and looked and came back and informed me everything was still the same. They offered to buy me a drink I said I didn't want to drink anything as I would eventually need the loo again. They asked me if I wanted them to go and find out if there was a Mothers and Toddlers room, I told them, “No, I was OK where I was.” They said they were going to Australia, and wished me a good trip too. I couldn't thank them enough and off they went, with Daniel still fast asleep on the three chairs and Meghan still crying loud!
They returned five minutes later with a stuff, soft toy, a little kangaroo for Meghan, she too upset to take it. I took the little toy and thanked them. On the aeroplane Meghan had no seat, she had a flat baby bed in front of me placed on the floor. Whenever I wanted the loo I made sure both Children was secured, in the baby bed and Daniel tied by his body harness to the chair.
I told Mum all about it...... she shudders every time she thinks about it.
Two weeks later we were back at the airport. Mum waved me out of sight. I came to the bottom of a very long flight of stairs. Me, our bags, Meghan in her pram and three year old Daniel. There was a woman sitting at the side of the stairs, I asked if she could show me where the lift was, she said, “There is no lift!” I then asked her if she could help me carry the pram and the Children up stairs. She said, “She is not allowed to leave this position!” She said, I will have to choose, which child I would take up with me and leave at the top (on there own) and then come back for the other one!!” What a nasty horrible dilemma! I pleaded with her, she wasn't budging! So I decided to take up with me, Daniel, my bags and I said to him at the top of the stairs, “Stay here, do not walk away, OK?” “OK, Mummy” he replied. This was beyond a nightmare!! I raced back down the stairs for my little Girl. I took her out her pram, fold it up, it was heavy, pram in left hand, Meghan in right. Would Toddler Daniel and my bags still be at the top? Or would they all be taken! Thank God, he was there with the bags! I put Meghan back in her pram and picked up my bags and off the three of us went, then we came to another flight of stairs going DOWN! Grateful that some one took the wheels, the bottom part of the pram and as I held on to the top half, carried the pram all the way to the bottom with Meghan still inside. It was hard as I had the bags, pram handle and Daniel to hold on to.
Meghan does not remember the holiday at all, she was too young. Daniel does. We have lovely pictures of the beaches, each other, Mum and her lovely house.
It was a trip I would never forget. Meghan is a Teenager now, she has been told the story of how she got the toy kangaroo many times. She still has it.
Mum Shudders every time she thinks of my journey home.
NEVER, say “Never!”