Tuesday, 20 August 2013

The best holiday we ever had, France with 5 kids.

As an expat family, it has been a long time since we've all been together, let alone on a holiday together. The eldest child, who moved into residential care in 2001, now aged 25 is profoundly disabled and due to her disabilities holidaying as a family of 7 was only possible on one occasion to France August 1st - 10th 2002.

After a delay with a cancellation on the ferries of 12 hours and 5 kids aged 3, 7, 10, 13 and 14 we arrived in Brittany rather tired and weary in our 7 seater, filled to the brim. We had booked the over night crossing with the intention of at least one of us getting some sleep after a 5 hour drive, 12 hour wait in Bournemouth and a 6 hour ferry crossing where our daughter wouldn't sit still and between us and supervising the other children we walked the entire crossing to occupy her.

After another long drive to Concarneau, we arrived at the Gite we had rented, unpacked and let the children explore the gardens and neighbouring fields, where they came across a horse that the 3 year old nick named 'Hip, Hip, Horsey' who was green and had 8 legs.

We ventured to the beach every day, Brest, le Conquet, Quimper, Carnac and our favourite Damgan. We had visited and have visited this area of France om many other occasions. Our daughter couldn't stay on the beach for long periods of time otherwise she'd rub sand in her eyes or eat it and as the boys were only really interested in sand castle competitions, this was an ideal beach for hubby and I to take it in turns to explore the town drinking coffee and eating pastries, while the other stayed on the beach, judging castle competitions, supervising the picnic or taking the boys on the trampolines.

This holiday also gave us the opportunity to take many photos of all the children together enjoying themselves and a rare photo of all 7 of us. The eldest boy always seems to have a birthday when we're on holiday, the last one was his 18th in San Fransisco before he left home in 2007, the next eldest had their last family holiday in Tunisia in 2010 before he left home also.

In 2011 we moved to South Africa, we've had family holidays with the youngest 2 children, camping in Kruger and Hubby and I to Cape Town on our own when the children have visited the UK. Our 2 older boys have been out to visit us, but holidays here are more about entertaining and taking family and friends to explore. We travel separately to the UK to stretch out contact with the adult children and our parents. The youngest child, now 14, left home last week to become a full time boarder in the UK. That just leaves the 2nd youngest now aged 18 who leaves home for a life in the Marines, mid 2014.

Holidays are very important to us as a family, we've travelled to many places with a combination of children and on our own. But the holiday to Brittany was our best ever holiday. It was the one and only time outside day to day life that we were all together. It was hard work, but the fondest of memories.

1 comment:

  1. I find it quite sad, that when the children grow up they are less able to go on family vacations because of jobs, school or whatever.

    The memories are always wonderful.