The best thing about being on holidays with a bunch of mothers is being on holiday with a bunch of mothers. Like a seasoned gambler they know when to hold them, they know when to fold them and they know when to walk away.
Over cocktails, mocktails and wine we’ve discussed health, boobs, family, boys, toys, jobs and most importantly left each other alone when it mattered. Having outgrown the Contiki tour decades ago (which was actually never my thing, truth-be-told) solo time was primo on this holiday. Each and every one of the women I’ve shared this week with have had their own holiday in their own way and yet, have rallied and supported each other when the need arose.
In my case, that was the soft knock at my door yesterday morning with a handful of the cold and flu drugs I’d neglected to pack for myself. Then after lunch I was offered more of the same, but from a different source…being the over-the-counter drug junkie that I am I gleefully accepted anything that my dealers proffered…it would seem rude not to. Alas not even the deepest, hardest hit of pseudoephedrine would stop the strep throat that woke me at 4am this morning. So much for the (also available over the counter) Valium knocking me out for 12 hours.
I’ve had strep throat before. Anyone who has had it knows it’s hideous. Swallowing razor blades that have first been heated in the hell of hades is the only way I can describe it. So I knew it wasn’t going to get better without serious intervention. Rather than wait out the next two nights and risk losing my mind in pain during the overnight flight ahead I did what every mother does. I asked Dr Google.
To my utter delight I discovered that, like Valium, antibiotics were readily available over the counter here. Hallelujah. May the Lord Open. Imagine that, being responsible for your own medical treatment with no expensive middle man just validating what you already know because, you know…you’re an adult and you’ve been around this block a few times, but sure, go ahead and give me permission to treat my own body!…Sorry, where was I. Oh yes…pharmacy. So off I trotted for my third visit to the pharmacy over the road. I guess some people shop for rip off Gucci in Thailand I shop for pharmaceuticals!
I was determined to get those antibiotics into my system ASAP so as not to delay my increasing discomfort. Which is the exact opposite to how I approached selecting the bathers we were each generously gifted by Sequins and Sands in preparation for this escape.
Shopping for bathers is almost as painful as this damn strep throat. Almost. It sucks the life right out of me. So even though the offer meant shopping online only (with personal advice and assistance should we need it) I still delayed. And delayed. And delayed.
When I finally put some time aside to decide on my purchase I started scanning through the colourful, flowing options thinking I’ll make the most of this gift and will not buy black. I always buy black. It’s the law in Melbourne. I can buy black anytime. The Sequins and Sands website is full of colour and women wearing colour and looking like the magnificent creatures they are (you should totes check it out!). I marked up a few options and then life got in the way (and by “life” I mean child and requests for food). So I book marked it all to come back to. Two days later I knew I had to order my bathers or I’d miss out on my gift – and that would be ungrateful. And I knew that everyone else would be sporting new togs and I wanted in on that club!
I returned to my list and in my haste my resolve to be fearless went out the window as I chose what I always choose. A black. One piece. Just couldn’t bring myself to buy two colourful pieces. Even when it was free I still chose something predictable. Why? Bloody habit. And fear. What if I didn’t like it? What if I couldn’t wear it when the holiday came around and then I’d have to explain to everyone why and that would seem ungrateful – particularly since it was a gift.
So my black one piece arrived and it IS fabulous and it IS comfortable and it IS supportive in the right places but you know what? I don’t like it that much. It’s just too much fabric sucking me in and covering me up when I actually want to be wearing less in this heat. I knew I’d want less but still I chose more because I wanted to hide. I’m a bit disappointed with myself; I should have taken a risk and selected a bikini. Not even a tankini. No. A fucking BI-KI-NI. Obviously I’d need some scaffolding for the girls because I’m no Bond Girl but still…two pieces. This was the perfect holiday to take that risk. And I blew it.
My husband has been telling me to buy a bikini for years! Bless him. He says I look better less covered up (he would, right?). But at forty fucking five I’m still coming to terms with full exposure. So while I’m sucking back my antibiotics and swearing like a sailor at the bad holiday ju-ju that’s come my way I’ll be reflecting on what’s holding me back. I think it’s time this mama learned how to play the cards she’s been dealt and drop the fucking poker face.