A couple of weeks ago I had a rare Saturday off work. As it was my weekend with the boys I decided to take them away to Woburn and after collecting them from after school club we finished packing the car, went to McDonalds for a quick and easy dinner and then headed off.The boys have this weird excitement when it comes to Premier Inn so I booked us a cute one to stay in that was a short drive to Woburn Safari Park.
On the Saturday morning we got up and had breakfast at the adjoining pub. I've never stayed in a hotel just me and the boys before so going for breakfast and having to look over both of them was different, however they are at an age where they can be trusted and where I am giving them a bit more freedom to make their own choices and to have some independence. We'll excuse the teary moment when Harry went over to our waiter and asked his name, then said "I'm Harry. This is my brother, his name is Charles". The waiter held his hand out and they shook hands. I felt so proud of Harry's manners and confidence.
We had to pop to the Supermarket because I'd stupidly forgotten to bring socks and already had blisters from my boots, and we also picked up some bits for a picnic.
I was so excited to finally get to the Safari park. I still had happy memories of going there as a child and loved that I was creating similar memories for my own children. And I couldn't wait to drive around too.
I promised the boys the best experience in the monkey enclosure. They (well, Charles mostly) were worried about the monkeys damaging the car to which I replied "I don't care. It will be worth it". Damage can be fixed after all.
At one point we had 5 monkeys on the car, they helpfully kept picking the leaves out of my bonnet, saving me a job, and kept play fighting...or real fighting?!...and jumping over the window and roof.
The laughter and excitement from the boys made it totally worth it.
I do get a bit emotional at times like that. Sadness that we're not the family unit I thought we would be but also happiness that I am able to do this by myself. And that it was because of me (and the monkeys!) that they were sat there laughing and giggling and calling each others names so neither missed out.
At one point we sat in the monkey enclosure without moving for around 20 minutes. Cars drove round us. I didn't want to move the car and stop the laughter from the boys and ignored and moaning from other people wanting me to move on.
This was our moment, our experience and our day to create some special memories.
That night, just as the night before, we all snuggled in to the double bed, ignoring the single bed made up by the window, and talked about our best bits from the day.
And they both thanked me.
That made it worth it. The fact that they were thankful for the memories we had created and for that special time we spent together.
For those memories and that time that was just ours.