For some time the boys had talked about the summer holidays with some excitement, mainly because they were so looking forward to going to see their nanny who now lives in Tenerife.
Well I had agreed to this trip on the understanding that I would accompany the kids out to where she lives so I could meet and spend some time with her new partner Sean. I didn't like the thought of the boys spending two weeks in the company of a man I knew nothing about, so this was very important to me.
Coincidentally, my girlfriend Nicola's father Steve lives on the Island too so with Nic wanting to catch up with her Dad and me wanting to be in the area for the boy's first week away with nan, it seemed we had the opportunity for Nicola and I to enjoy our first holiday together although not completely alone, little Poppy was coming along too.
On arriving at Jackie's apartment and meeting Sean I was so pleasantly surprised with what a nice guy she had found and even more reassuringly what a good dad he seemed to be to his 11 year old daughter who was also staying with the couple at the same time as the boys. An older sister for two weeks...this would be interesting!
Happy that Bob and Fred were in good hands I departed the Golf del Sur and began my holiday with my two girls at a wonderful hotel in Del Duque. It was a new experience to be the one looking after somebody else's child, effectively the boot was now on the other foot but I saw it as a chance to strengthen my relationship with her. One afternoon in the kiddie's pool I must have pulled her around on the body board for a good hour while 10 other children splashed me and poured buckets of water over my head. Honestly, I was having more fun than them.
I wanted to make this holiday, our first, special for Nicola and had lots of plans to make it memorable. Nicola's Dad and step-mother Janet were understandably gagging to get their hands on their grand-daughter which gave us the time we needed to get romantic because we all know that romance and kids are not entirely akin. I made plans with the hotel staff to hire a special area for dinner one night, I arranged for special flowers to sit on the table in the stained-glass conservatory room and we drunk more than we usually would to celebrate everything that is great about our relationship.
I had also arranged for housekeeping to fill our room with 20 candles so when we walked in from a lovely evening the scene was set for the romance to go up a considerable amount!
Anyway this is my blog, not 50 Shades of Grey, so I'll spare you the detail.
We enjoyed walks along the beach and inspected the stars and even had 'date lunch' which consisted of me asking lots of unremarkable questions about Nicola's likes and dislikes so I could get to know her even better than I feel I do already.
I thought Nicola might also appreciate me getting to know her Dad so I invited him to play golf one afternoon and I had a really good time, we drew as well which meant there was no bad feeling in the car on the way home! The day before we departed to come home the boys and their new step-sister Jade came and stayed with us at the hotel for the day. I have to say Jade was a credit to Sean, wonderful manners, not shy and completely friendly. She had a lovely effect on the boys and Poppy adored her too.
The holiday had gone really well and we both felt really in love as a result. The boys returned to stay with their nan for an additional week and I had fulfilled many of my targets for the week, aside from my plans for Nicola and I.
I had wanted to read a book from cover to cover, not a big ask I know but something I had fell out of the habit of doing so I read I, Partridge which was highly amusing, and even began Stephen Fry, which is the kind of book that needs to be read in one hand with a highlighter at the ready in the other, so I can go back and search the meanings of a great deal of words that I had neither understood nor seen before.
I had also meditated twice daily, a practice I discovered for myself five years ago enjoying regularity for around nine months before again, falling out of the habit due to the usual excuse: the business of single parenthood and work. I have stayed regular with the meditation for almost a month now which means a lot to me.
Fantastically balanced holiday and I couldn't feel better for it. Utterly satisfying!