We went to London as a family at the weekend. Ted loves all things London. He has a full wall Underground map in his bedroom. Big Ben bedlinen. A bowler hat light shade.
We’ve been to London before but they were much younger then. We had a great time apart from Ted braining himself on a railing whilst boarding a river cruise.
So we had high hopes for this day out. It had trains, and underground, dinosaurs and ice cream. And the Christian Dior exhibition for me!
It ended up with Georgia being frantic by the volume of people, Ted getting himself stuck the wrong side of the barrier on the underground, the subsequent tears, hands over ears at the noise, too-sweet ice-cream and us catching the earlier train home. At which point everyone perked up and happiness was restored.
We’ve promised them they never need to go to London again!
But it got me thinking about if they were missing out.
We have friends and family whose kids have already travelled to every continent. Who aren’t remotely fazed by planes, trains and automobiles. Who will try pretty much any food placed in front of them. And will lap up the whole experience.
We, on the other hand, have changed our holiday plans from France to Devon for the summer because I’ve been reliably informed that ‘France is too far from home.’
So are my wee homebodies missing out? I don’t think so. They both struggle with anxiety in unfamiliar places. Georgia has food anxiety too. Neither like crowded places such as airports and stations. It’s a recipe for disaster and unhappiness. Although we are bombarded with images of families enjoying holidays at far-flung locations, the reality for SEND families is very different.
But that doesn’t make it less.
During the school holidays, whilst friends are visiting Florida or Asia or European beaches and cities, our family will be at local beaches and attractions that they’ve been visiting for years. And are therefore extremely comfortable with. They’ll attend Playschemes and adventure weeks. We’ll play on the park and walk the dog. And we’ll flake around the house complaining of boredom.
And all the while they’ll be growing in confidence and the security of home and family.
Maybe one day they’ll have enough confidence to travel more. To feel more bien dans ses peaux. To embrace the wider world. To know that travel is fun and home is always waiting if it stops being so. That if the food is too weird there is likely always going to be a MacDonalds.
And if they don’t, again I’m not sure thats such a terrible thing. After all, home is where the heart is!