I took the summer off. Literally. I haven’t posted because I have been on so many wee holidays with my girls. It was my treat to me and to us. The summers are always a bit tough anyway with so many milestone dates, Father’s Day, wedding anniversary and birthday all coming in a steady flow of blows. This year it was a significantly important birthday though and it was the catalyst really for ‘getting away from it’. I felt odd because I was leaving the decade Col knew me most in but it also hurt that he never got to his four zero’s at all. He will be forever 38 and I am very much no longer his 36-year-old widow.
Anyway, the holidays have been a joy. I am spoilt and so are my girls. We’ve holidayed with Cameron and the boys in the Dordogne at a place that I knew Col wanted the girls to enjoy because he spoke about it the night before he died. Cameron could have balked at the thought of spending 10 days in the old French house I got engaged at but he is an amazingly understanding man and it was gorgeous to watch him fall in love with it too. He wants to return to make new memories there. Then I had my indulgent trip to Spain without the girls but with my other girls, grown-up ones, and it is always a tonic. These are women who have had to put with my ups and downs over the last three years and who make me laugh in the sea and sunshine. The last trip saw me and my little girls jot off on our annual ‘widow’ trip to Spain with the other Mrs C-who-gets-it – once again it was a real treat. This time a single mother friend of mine from London joined us and was a welcome addition in our little holiday coven.
So we are holidayed out but I think Col would have been proud. He was a man that lived for a holiday and in our Last Supper conversation on that night before he died…well we listed our favourite holidays that we would like to revisit, recreate and relive with our kids. The French trip most definitely ticked off one of his. There are more to achieve, both mine and his, but I will make each of them happen. It’s one of my promises to him.
I have felt increasingly less sad too. The waves will always come but they are so much less about me and more about the girls and what they miss, at home and away, by not having Colin who would have been such a great dad. I feel that Colin-shaped hole that I spoke of at his funeral so much for them. So yes I have caught my breath and smoothed away tears while listening to the girls play “let’s pretend we’ve got a daddy and bury him in the sand’ on the beach as they heaped spadefuls of wet sludge onto nothing or when the sky threw up a beautiful sunset and I was proudly told daddy had made it. I will always ache when I see dads throw their kids around in a holiday pool or play endless games of bat and ball at the water’s edge. I watch Evie watch those daddies with a shadow of sadness passing over her face and then she will turn brightly around to ‘move on’ like a seasoned griever and she seems a hundred years older than she should be at five.
Tomorrow school starts. Evie is so super excited to be going, finally. She’s told me tonight as she went to bed, like the good girl she promised me she would be all day, that she wishes daddy could come tomorrow and see her in her school uniform. I wept as I crept from her room. I have been a snot and tear monster as Cameron just let me cry it out and then I wiped the tears and the sadness away just like my daughter does and I moved on to tape name labels over everything in sight. The holidays are definitely over. And a new chapter in our wee story begins tomorrow. I hope he can see her.