The aeroplane to Portugal wasn't the only thing flying out that day.
Toughest aspect of single parenthood is introducing someone to your children. You could have spent months shaping something that feels right, and then when you can potentially see something of a future with someone you have to answer the question which has been burning away since you first exchanged a meaningful kiss. Will they accept my children?
It's all well and good me insisting that it's 'three Braziers for the price of one' and anyone who is fortunate enough to be a part of Bob and Fred's life is one lucky lady but that's just my point of view. I know their value and the pleasure and satisfaction that comes with seeing them grow but then I would, I was there from the start.
The truth is the boys might not fit in to someone's plans, they might like me but not the responsibility that comes with it, they might even have the appetite for the challenge, yet the kids could fully reject them. They could begrudge the time and effort that is put in to raising your kids on a daily basis and that is without even starting to think what the ex-partner thinks of this potential threat to their title. The what-ifs are certainly enough to make some shy away from love altogether.
Coming in to a pre-packaged family is nothing short of a tightrope act but for those that do stick around long enough and apply themselves generously to the 'added extras', the benefits are there waiting, you just have to see them.
On this occasion, for which I will regale a very recent event, the benefits were not necessarily there to see for my partner, with whom I am enjoying a quite 'effortless' relationship, but the way she handled a few things told me, in case I was wondering, exactly how committed she is to my children and as a single parent wanting to find love but making sure that love - loves my children, I found that assurances can come in the strangest of circumstances.
We didn't waste any time in getting away last week, no sooner had the school bell rung for the summer holidays we were on our way to the airport and for the second time now my girlfriend would travel with us. Fred was noticeably not himself. It's easy to detect when he's not quite right, because you can't hear him talking.
It had been a scorching day so it was understandable that it could have been a case of over-heating, nothing some water and the windows down all the way to Gatwick couldn't fix? Well so I thought. On arriving I had to transport the two suitcases and two children, one of which required carrying because of his temperature, across the concourse to meet with the girlfriend but we were slowed down by a trip to the toilet because Freddy inevitably thought he was going to be sick.
We drunk plenty more water and he wasn't actually sick so optimistically we carried on to the EasyJet counter, met Kate and checked In. Freddy was still burning hot and was wrapped around me throughout except for the only time he would have to let go of his Dad to get down and go through the security check, surely nothing could go wrong here?
I put him down and turned my back to take my iPad out of my hand luggage and place in the tray. No sooner had I done this I heard the wrenching sound of a child throwing up. I spun round into the 'parent - ready for action' stance, knees bent and arms outstretched ready to catch something.
Fred bless him, had caught the first bit in his cupped hands. I know you've probably been wondering where the wheelie-bin would come into the equation, well it was two metres away from us in a cupboard, I was holding his wrists I guess so he didn't spill any on the floor and knew I had to get him that short distance before the bulk of the contents of his stomach was to join us and the rest of the holidaymakers watching on.
Now here's the impressive bit. Fred's my baby so of course I leapt into action, I hardly expected anyone else to help, the last thing anyone wants to do is sit on an aeroplane with someone else's kid's sick on them. However, my girlfriend seemingly reacted with the same level of urgency as I did and it was her quick thinking that got the cupboard door open in time to allow us access to the wheelie bin which she pulled out far enough so we could go in over the top.
Sadly for all concerned, the big green bin was just slightly taller than Fred so he missed and we both got splattered. I was behind Fred at this point with my arms under his, lifting him up under the armpits with my hands in front of his mouth making a ramp/bridge so that the spillage would bounce off me and go into the bin.
It was teamwork at its finest. Fred was relieved to have got it out, I knew this because he instantly started talking again. Miraculously we all managed to keep our clothes relatively untouched which was good because otherwise I would have had to spend a fortune in Ted Baker, the only clothes shop in that terminal.
Bob had reacted really well by getting the big blue roll of tissue which was intrinsic to our almost professional tidy-up efforts, I did my job but, the man of the match on this occasion was Kate. A good pair of shoes were lost in the process but it didn't stop her. She was willing to put herself in the line of fire, I hadn't asked her, nor expected her to, but yet she was there by my side wiping sick off my child's legs and arms.
In those few split-seconds, it was easy for me to see why I like this girl. I could see why she was the right person to introduce to the boys in the first place. She took responsibility where there was none, she showed that she cares for Fred more than she thankfully does her shoes and ultimately she confirmed to me that she is someone I can continue to let myself fall for.
Within a minute or two we had not only cleaned Fred and ourselves, we had also wiped up the whole floor and left very little for the cleaners to do. It wasn't a test by any means but in this dilemma came something not to be forgotten in a hurry, not just that we could open a family-run cleaning business, but that we make a lovely team.