I recently travelled as a single parent to Orlando, Florida (obviously popped over to Disney!) with my beautiful cherub who is 22 months (2 in August for normal people) and well…it’s was a journey and an experience for so many more reasons than I ever imagined.
I got to Gatwick Airport and the journey to Florida had begun! I braved the holiday pushchair free with one suitcase half filled (I heard the shopping was amazing) and the start was great! Airport was fun, lots of selfies, a treat at mcdonalds, no tantrums and a beautiful toddler who slept 4 hours at the beginning of the flight so I could even watch a movie in peace (albeit with her on my lap but still…). Everything was going great, the Plane was amazing, we had extra legroom seats at no extra charge (We flew Virgin), free food and drink flowing, first movie down and then it happened…A perfectly dressed, handsome almost airbrush looking member of the cabin crew came over to me and said “Are you travelling alone?” and that is when I realised my real journey had begun. My Journey into accepting I was a single Parent.
Now I do not really like the term “single parent” as although my relationship status maybe single I happily co parent with my Cherub’s Dad and she has a beautiful happy upbringing with both of her parents. However it became apparent to me that right here and right now I was alone and I would have to deal with everything all on my own, was I prepared? Had I thought this through? Will I be able to cope? I was overwhelmed all of a sudden with a succession of thoughts, concerns, worries and I had no idea how I was doing to deal with any of them.
Once we landed the practicalities of travelling alone began to set in for me. How on earth was I going to hold her hand, hold my hand luggage, suitcase, her luggage, passports, go through security and do whatever else they require you to do, take your shoes off, belts off, shimmy to the left shimmy to the right and all the other requests they give you at the airport!
I was still feeling raw having to explain to a complete stranger I was travelling alone and it was just “me and the baby” but just to rub salt in the wound I then had to prove that she was my daughter at immigration (she has her father’s surname). I was questioned as to why she did not have my surname, why I was not married and how I could prove she was my child, and short of getting my C section scar out I pulled out her birth certificate and was finally let to continue my journey….Was it always going to be like this? Would I have to prove to all these people she was my child? How could this be, I carried her for 9 months, Breastfed for 15, I change her clothe her and feed her how dare these complete strangers question who I am to her!
Throughout the holiday we met various people, waitresses, waiters, other holiday makers all who continued to ask “is it just the two of you” or “are you here alone”. There was a sense of pity in all their voices, they felt sorry for me. And every time it burnt, it hurt. I got angry so much so I began to lie and that’s when I realised I wasn’t happy with my situation myself, I wasn’t ready to accept it, let alone explain it to anyone. So the stories began “her dad is asleep in the room” “he is working and couldn’t make the trip” “he is meeting us out here soon”…I continued to make up these ridiculous excuses as to why I was alone with my child on a holiday that I paid for! This went on for the majority of my holiday and at one point after I put cherub to bed I cried, I cried and cried and prayed that people would stop asking me so I would have to stop reliving this lie or saying out loud that I was ALONE! I felt guilty as if I was letting her down in some way as she only had me.
Until one day I met a lady by the pool and we got chatting. She was on holiday just her and her son, she had never been with her son’s father and had always taken him on holiday and so I confessed! Explained how I felt, what I was telling everyone and she laughed. She laughed and said she had done exactly the same until she realised how brave she was. That NONE of those people questioning her would have been brave enough to grab their child on their own and travel that far. Why should her child not go anywhere because she is single? Why does he need 2 parents to go on holiday! Every word she said lifted me, encouraged me and made me quickly realise how far I had come!
That same day I was sitting on my sunbed and cherub had just woken up for a nap, she shouted “pooooool mummy” so I let her go play, she quickly came back and I asked if she was ok to which she simply said “love you mummy” kissed me and ran back off. I sobbed on my sunbed not because I was sad but because at that moment I realised how in love with her I was and that I was already in the most beautiful relationship of my life.
Encouragement, Wisdom, Advice and Understanding can sometimes come from the most random places but you will always hear what you need to just when you need it.
Sometimes where we look for love isn’t where we find it and we have to look deeper and closer to home. Be courageous, be brave and take chances. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much you can do, how much you are capable of and how well you cope in situations you are in! Life is too short to wonder “what if”.
My fears, my anxieties, worries and concerns melted away when I saw cherub’s face fill with love and joy. She was happy and I couldn’t ask for anything more.
Never let anyone steal your joy. Be real, be honest and be you and not for anyone else but yourself. When you can accept your situation for what it is you can be confident. I have nothing to hide. I am here because of the choices I made and I stand by them, accept them and more importantly I learn from them.
We are all we can be. Nobody is perfect but it is our imperfections that set us apart.
I hope I have encouraged someone or helped someone in writing this. You have helped me by reading, understanding and supporting.
Thanks for stopping by
The fat funny one x
P.S Single doesn’t equal alone.