The secret diary of a single parent bloke
Natalia, Jack and I all got up at the normal time on Friday morning, and came downstairs for breakfast as usual. Afterwards I told them to get dressed, but that they didn’t need to wear their school uniform today. Natalia was puzzled, and said that she was sure it wasn’t a mufti day, but did as I’d said.
When they were dressed, I told them that they’d got a day off.
“Why” asked Natalia.
“Everybody needs a day off once in a while”, I explained.
“Oh. So what are we going to do today?”
“We need to pop into town and get some stuff”
The kids groaned in unison, and a small protest began. I explained that it was Mother’s Day on Sunday, and we needed to get some flowers and a card and take them to their Nan who works in town. A promise that we could go on the bus AND sit upstairs seemed to win the battle.
After buying some flowers and a card, we ventured to where my mom worked. She was pleased to see us, but I quickly wanted to strangle her!
“Do they know yet?” she asked me.
“Know what Dad?”
“So they’ve no idea at all?”
“No idea about what, Dad?”
“Nothing, Natalia. Shush, Mom”
“They’ve really no idea at all?”
“Mom. Please stop talking.”
“What’s going on Dad?”
“So they don’t even know about the train ride?”
“Are we going on a train, Dad?”
“Erm, yes. Mom, shut up!”
“I can’t believe you’ve managed to keep it a secret?”
“Mom, I’m going to leave before you say anything else”
“Where are we going on the train?”
“Don’t they know anything about it?”
“About what, Dad? Where are we going on the train?”
“Erm, we need to go into the city to do some shopping. Bye Mom!”
Whinging about yet more shopping ensued, so I promised them a burger when we got there.
We got on the train, and they failed to notice our names on the reserved seats.
We sailed through the city, without Natalia or Jack spotting it, and got off at the big station in the middle of nowhere. They were a bit hungry and moany now, so I promised them a ride on the transit link.
At the other end of the transit link, Natalia said “This isn’t a shopping centre. It’s an airport!”
I did my best surprised look “Is it? But there are lots of shops. Are you sure?”
“Yes, Dad, it’s definitely an airport”
“Oh, well I’m sure we’ll get what we need here”
“OK, I think there’s a Burger King here somewhere. I’m not sure where, so I think I’d better ask”
I proceeded over to the check-in desks, and stood at the end of the queue.
“Dad! We can’t stand here!”
“Because this is where you stand when you’re getting on a plane, and we’re not getting on a plane, are we!”
“Aren’t we…?” I asked.
Natalia and Jack’s eyes widened. “Are we…?
“We can if you want to”
“YES! Where can we go?”
“I don’t know. It says Belfast on the screen, I’ve never been there. That’s where we’ll go”
“What’s at Belfast?”
“Dunno. We’ll see when we get there”
The children were wide-eyed and open-mouthed at the situation.
After checkin, security and a burger, we were sat on the plane heading towards Ireland. “Now isn’t this better than school?”
As we cleared arrivals, I said “I’ve got one last surprise for you”
Stood at the end of a long ramp was my Dad. Both kids ran at him as fast as they could, arms outstretched.
My Dad, Lydia and my grandparents had rented a cottage for a week on the Irish North-South border. They’d driven, and taken all of our clothes with them, and we stayed there for the weekend. And it was a fabulous weekend too!
Addendum: Our return flight on Sunday evening was delayed, and we didn’t get home until nearly 4am on Monday morning. There was no way I could get Monday off work, so had to send the kids to school. Natalie told the teacher about the delay, and fell asleep with her head on the desk. The teacher kindly let her sleep. I’m so glad I got permission for the Friday off school and was honest with them, rather than faking a sickie!