Almost two weeks ago I got back from a weeks holiday to Tenerife with my boys and my mum. We booked the holiday at the beginning of the year and although I was looking forward to it I had so much other stuff going on that I didn't really get time to think about it too much.
What with the house sale, divorce, work commitments, trip to the Isle of Man, the boys birthdays, Britmums Live, I didn't sit and think about how much of a big deal this holiday would be to me.
I've done the whole airport thing without my ex husband twice. But I was flying solo, so I only had myself to worry about. This time, I had two boys, my mum, and four suitcases to think about too.
I've never checked into a hotel abroad before, I was anxious in case we had any problems and I wouldn't be able to fix them. I would normally be the one in charge of the children leaving my ex husband to the check in process and so on. But this time it was my job. I had the information for checking in, and so on. But thankfully I had my mum to take over with the boys when needed, at other times it was joint "parenting".
It was amazing and really special to be able to have her by my side and to make these memories with her. And especially for the boys to be able to have this time with her.
We spent the first afternoon around the pool and I didn't think too much about the people who were around us. I stood in the water and looked around, almost not believing we were actually in Tenerife. Not quite being able to accept how warm it was and how the sun felt against my skin.
It was the next day that I noticed that this holiday would prove how much adjusting I've had to do. As we sat around the pool and played with the boys I noticed that we were the only family without a male figure. Without a dad or step dad.
The boys didn't notice. It didn't affect them at all. It wasn't that they needed a male figure there with them.
But I was fully aware at that point how different our family structure is right now.
My mum said something that has stuck with me. She said she knew that she had taken someone elses place on the holiday. And although it looks like it was a harsh thing to say, and at first I did take it offensively until I actually thought about it, I completely understand where she was coming from.
There would be no reason for my mum not going on that holiday if I was still married. However, her role would have been different. She wouldn't have been expected to have been so hands on, and wouldn't have been expected to share a room with us all.
There were moments when I sat there, especially at night when I couldn't sleep, where I pictured what future family holidays could be like.
Will there ever be another man who goes with us? Who I get to share a bed with whilst my sons share their own room?
Will I be able to enjoy the beautiful scenery, cuddled up in the arms of a man whilst the boys explore the area?
Will I be able to sit on a balcony with him and watch as the sun goes down whilst the boys sleep...or at least fight sleep?
Will there be a man who joins in with the water polo as we sit on the side and cheer him on?
Will he have his own children who come along? Or will we have a child together who adds to the family?
Will we always have to avoid the awkward "where's your dad then? Sunbathing or watching football somewhere?" questions asked by shop keepers and hotel staff? And added to that will I also be in a position where shop staff won't say "we'll keep our eyes out for any single dads for you" quite loud as I leave their shop?
Will I have an excuse to not wear dark sunglasses so I can look at local men and stop daydreaming about moving to Tenerife to be with them?
As I said, our holiday was lovely. And in no way was it any less enjoyable because we didn't have an adult male with us.
But it made me more aware of who we are now. Who I am now.
What my struggles are and what my strengths are.
And it's made me see what I want us to be, although I have no control over that as such, but I know that I need to be part of a unit (eventually).
The boys were totally unaware, but for me it was obvious.
And will just take lots of adjusting.