We usually take our family summer holidays in August.
Before children, Mr B and I would take off here and there during the year, but we always saved at least a week’s holidays to go to Spain in August to catch up with family and friends and enjoy the local fiestas.
For the last 10 years, since having the kids, Mr B and I have tried to save most of our annual leave until August so we could have a long holiday in Spain. As our children are both Spanish and Irish but they spend most of their time in Ireland, it is very important for both of us that they get to know their other culture, to practice their other language and to get to know their Spanish family.
For years, we managed to extend the length of our holidays with the aid of Parental Leave (unpaid). We used to spend 4 weeks in Plentzia (how insane is that!), a small village in the Basque Country. For us, Home away from home.
As the Parental Leave ran out and the boys got older, we have been ridiculously lucky to be able to send the boys (with family and not with a stamp in their foreheads) ahead of us to spend few weeks in Spain ahead of us. These trips on their own, have really solidified their own relationship with my parents and family. They now have their own relationship, independently from me.
This might be insignificant for other families. Usually, when families are together more often than once a year, relationships develop organically. Unfortunately, my parents don’t have the opportunity to pop into my house for a cup of coffee on a Wednesday, or to take the kids for ice-cream after school, or to help them with their home-work. Although the love was always there, it has taken them longer to get to know each other. But they have got there.
I can’t really describe how happy this makes me. I see them joking together and it fills my heart with joy. They have their own private jokes. Their own little traditions. They get special treats from their grand-parents. Normal stuff. But in their case, only normal for 1 month a year.
The boys love it here. They appreciate the cultural differences – they think some are hilarious, some better and some worse. They like the lifestyle and, although spending a month of holidays at the beach with family is not a fair reflection of the day-to-day reality, they get the general idea.
The boys are now talking about maybe moving to Spain when they grow older. Maybe going to college in Spain.
They may and they may not. It doesn’t matter.
I love that they are thinking about it and that it is an option for them.
It’s very special for me.