The best time of my life was when...

I was 43 and we were on holiday in Menorca, I was sitting on a white balcony with my feet on the curved white walls. In my ear Julio was singing some sweet Spanish ballad. There was a brilliant blue sky and the distant crash of waves on the shore. It was one of those moments. Taking stock it was the best time, I was there with my husband and three grown children. The children happy to be left to their own devices all day and joining us at night for a meal in the village. This particular year we had brought along a friend for one of them, we often did that, it helped the dynamics of the family to have a ‘stray’ too.


Jacqui Lee


The fact that they came willingly was unusual, especially when I hear the tales of disastrous holidays from others. They have told me their adult children spent time sulking and being more of a pain than a pleasure. Let us say that perhaps ours knew they were lucky, with most meals paid for, they only worked a little for their fare. So it was not a bad deal. The decided being with Mum and Dad was Ok after all!

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Life was good at that time we had a lovely house in a good neighbourhood. Husband was flat out busy with his own company producing graphic art and photography for local businesses. All the children were either working; at college, or school and doing well. I worked in a fashion store, and loved all the beautiful clothes I could get for a third of the price. For once I was not weight watching I had somehow naturally arrived at a good weight and went to an exercise class to control the flab.

The contrast between this period of life and the previous fifteen years was amazing. The tough times had somehow passed us by now, and we were able to relax a little. There are so many different contributing factors that make life bearable. Knowing your family is happy is probably the most important, and at that stage I still had my parents around. So having the children, if not ‘under my wing’ at least close to us, was a bonus.

If only we could stop the clock, and say “right I want it to be like it is now forever” wouldn’t it be good? But of course we must move on, and life has to change, the children soon left home all of them left for good, when they were around 18, one to a job in London, another to college with a girlfriend and our daughter to live with her future husband.

My parents had some sad times to deal with, as Dad’s health became an issue. We were there for them and tried to give support, and that was important. So that brief time before Dad was ill, was when they were both well and also able to come on English holidays with us. At Easter we all went to Devon for a break. I wrote about that, as ‘family holidays’ are a rare pleasure these days.

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But that last holiday with all the children willingly wanting to come with us was a complete joy. We had fun, we had wonderful meals together and they laughed when we went to a disco in the caves and watched us dancing. All of them making faces and pretending it was the worst thing ever. “Mum and Dad dancing, YUCK!”

Yes if I could go back to one special time it would be then. Whenever I hear that Spanish songster I am carried back to that villa on Menorca. I am there in that white suit that I wore without feeling I needed to hide, and we are together.

Have you a family holiday that stands out in your memory? Or one that was so bad it stands out?