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Holiday List

As I transported the seventh laundry load of the day from the washing machine to the tumble dryer, my journey was interrupted before I could even make it past the dishwasher…


I managed to avoid the the Spiderman backpack but hopelessly tripped over the Gruffalo suitcase which was packed so full it only closed at one end. The culprits of the kitchen hazards were my two sons who stood among the dropped clothes looking at me with excitement. 

“We’re ready for America!” they told me, which was impressively quick I must say, seeing as moments before they were bouncing on the trampoline.
On closer inspection of the boys luggage, with the exception of a Superman cape and an Ironman mask, clothes had been determined an unnecessary complication. Toys (and for some reason, a pebble) were of more importance. The boys lost interest when I told them we weren’t leaving for a week and seemed confused that their parents were already appearing mildly stressed at the amount of pre-holiday work.

The clothes had been my holiday preparation job of the day. The previous night Faith and I sat down and made a list of the things we need to do before our three-week (yes, three… it is a long way, so we stay a long time to make that eight-hour flight worth it) holiday to America to visit family. The list is an attempt to minimise stress and arguments, and maximise well-being and fun.

The list is comprehensive and covers a full range of sensible, thoroughly boring, grown-up tasks like mowing the lawn, getting travel insurance and checking my ESTA is still valid. The list doesn’t set the world on fire. The list doesn’t really reflect the adventure we’re about to go on as a family. It doesn’t tell how we’re going to fly across the Atlantic with my brother and sister-in-law, and the boys’ two little cousins. It doesn’t hint at all the swimming we’re going to do in my in-laws’ pool, or the boules I’m going to play on the beach while I drink a very American micro-brew. It doesn’t give away the fact that we’ll be making some incredible memories as a family.

A Gruffalo full of toys, masks and superhero capes, on the other hand, is much more like it.

The list, as practical as it is, can steal the excitement of the adventure before us. So as I go about the list I’m determined to have moments where I’m interrupted by superhero rucksacks, so that I remember the list is just a list, and the adventure is what it’s all about.

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