We are on holiday in our favourite place, Umngazi. http://www.umngazi.co.za/. It's our fifth year in a row, we love it here. It's the only place where I actually have a holiday as everything is done for you and it is totally focused on family-friendly holidaying. There is a separate dining room for the kids (with kid friendly food of course) plus you are able to hire a nanny to watch your kids while you lie by the pool sipping on your Chardonnay. It took me four years to relax enough to let the nanny actually look after Max but this year I just about got it right.
(Except, funny story.....: I am not a natural relaxer. Relaxing doesn't come easily for me. I have to work very hard to relax. This year I made a concerted effort to force myself to relax. I have not checked my email once and I have actually let the nanny look after Max for stretches of two hours at a time. I thought I was doing a pretty good job. But yesterday as I was speed walking (it's the only pace I know) between the sandpit and the lounge (just a quick peek to see whether Max was ok with nanny), one of the other guests grabbed my arm and said "do you ever slow down and relax?!" I stopped in my tracks and laughed. I realized that I was doing my rushing-at-100-miles-an-hour thing. He said "I have been watching you and you never sit still. Relax! You are on holiday". I laughed again and said "I know, but the kids....." They will be fine he said, relax! So hard for me to let go and relax. Teeny bit of a paranoid mom)
Today I gave the nanny a few minutes off to have some tea (my fave thing to do so that I can be with Max myself) and he and I were in the sandpit for 30 mins. I told him that we should go find Dad by the pool and lie down on the lounger. And off we walked. The pool is about 10 steps from the sandpit, just around the corner. Past the bar and entertainment area. As we were walking out the sandpit he said "ouch" and so I asked him if the sand was hot and he said yes. I turned my head back again and walked the 10 steps on to Marko. As I got to him I turned around and Max wasn't behind me. How irritating. Dawdling again. I walked back to the sandpit to tell him to hurry. He wasn't there. I looked in the entertainment area where he sometimes like to go to play with the snooker balls, not there. Back to the sandpit. Not there. I went to Marko to tell him that Max has just disappeared and he must help me look.
And we looked and looked and looked. Our friends started looking. Adam and Kate started looking. Our voices getting higher and higher pitched as we called his name. I started scanning the river to see if I could see anything. Dreading, absolutely dreading seeing something floating in the water. We looked every where. Up and down.
I was willing myself not to panic. I could see Marko starting to get scared. Every horrible scenario flashed through my head. He fell in the river. Someone saw that he was speech delayed and WAY too unshy and trusting and lured him off. Madeleine Maccann. This all obviously happened because I had been thinking how tough it is to have a child with developmental delays. I was feeling sorry for myself. I had brought this on myself.
Wild terror set in. We called in security to help us. They looked worried. 20 longest, scariest moments of my life.
And then Adam found him. On the toilet in the entertainment area. Making a poo. Waiting for me to come wipe his bum. "I was calling you and calling you Mama".
After wiping his butt I picked him up and bawled my eyes out. I sobbed and sobbed. My god. I don't panic easily but the longer it took, the more terrified I became.
Poor Kate. She was really upset to see me cry. I never cry in front of them. She tried to cheer me up by saying "at least if you lost Max you would still have two children left". I laughed through my tears. "I know my girl, but I would really like to keep all three of my children" I replied. "But you are always saying how hard it is to have three children? she says" Oops! Yes I do say that. (Because 3 kids does = v hard!) "yes, three kids is hard but I love you all very much and I want to keep all three of you".
It's ironic, because I am the most paranoid parent ever. So for me to "lose" a child is crazy. I usually watch them like a hawk. Especially Max because he is how he is. Thing is, things happen so quickly.
I felt sick afterwards. I still do. I am so very, very, very thankful he is ok.