After a sunny day of adventure, we arrived at our second hotel, the Art Deco Drumossie Hotel just outside Inverness. Unfortunately I’d forgotten that my husband and I had booked the tasting menu, and I wondered how on earth I’d get through six courses with a tiny child to entertain on my own. To his credit, Joseph sat nicely at dinner, to the point that an elderly fellow diner gave him a £10 note to buy a treat. It was such a touching gesture, and a lovely way to end the trip.
During our mother and son travels it was clear that nobody was vaguely interested in why my boy and I were travelling together, whether I was a foster parent, single parent, widow, divorcee, nuclear family or otherwise. Whatever the family dynamic, travel is a viable way to shake things up.
As we drove home I realised that a one-on-one holiday presses the restart button on family life. You gain the perspective to realise the roles that people have slipped into, you can spot triggers, and can even reassess how you see yourself within the family unit. Instead of seeing a ‘little brother’, I saw Joseph as a character in his own right, a little boy willing to forge his own path (and play Nintendo till he puked).
We arrived home with big tales, huge hugs, and presents from the Fort George gift shop (who doesn’t want a rubber duck resembling Mel Gibson from Braveheart?). Bizarrely, we’d all missed each other, which was a hugely unfamiliar feeling after the hell of home-schooling, and Joseph still talks about ‘my trip with mummy’.