When Frank was 6 months old, I decided that I'd had enough of overbearing family members, absent fathers and the miserable cold weather. I booked Frank and I plane tickets to Australia. We flew out to Sydney, on New years eve 2013 for 10 months. It was the best and scariest decision I'd made (after deciding to embrace single parenting).
I'm brave but I'm not brave enough to travel 30000 miles with my six-month-old son to a country where I knew no one. I was taking Frank to meet his Grandpa, my dad, who at the time lived in Sydney. In my mind, parenting in the sunshine would be a whole lot easier than parenting in the cold English weather. For the record, I'd overlooked the fact that Oz can throw out some 40-degree rays, which at times could be unbearable. I still had a lot to learn. The flight from Manchester to Abu Dabi was no trouble, Frank slept most of the way and I dozed, whilst holding him in my arms. We landed in Abu Dabi and were greeted with news of a 4 hour delay!! I found that time quite hard, foreign country, alone and solely responsible for the safety of Frank. It was also the middle of the night and an extremely busy airport. Frank was asleep in his pushchair, I was too scared to lay down next to him and doze. I didn't want to take my eyes off of him. Eventually, we boarded our flight for Sydney, only another 13 hours and we'd be there. Unfortunately, when we hit Australian turf our first stop was not somewhere I expected it to be.
I was very smug on the plane to Sydney. Frank slept pretty much the whole way there, and when he was awake he was very subdued and clingy. I just put this down to the fact that we'd been travelling for nearly 30 hours and we were both exhausted. |In hindsight, knowing my child and his sleeping patterns, I should have been concerned. Once we were off the plane and in the bright Sydney sunshine with my Dad, it was like reality hit and I saw that Frank was not well. He was pale, lethargic and his front fontanelle was severely inverted......... Hospital here we come!
Frank had contracted gastroenteritis and with him being so small and not drinking enough, he had become severely dehydrated. My baby was given a canular and had a tube put up his nose he was so brave, unlike me who couldn't go in the room while they did, good old Grandpa stepped up. At that moment, I felt like the worst mummy in the world, how could I have not known anything was wrong, what if we hadn't come straight to the hospital, was I fit to even be looking after him? All these questions swirled around my head.
Three days after Frank was first admitted to the children's department of Sydney A&E, he was happily playing with his toys in his Grandpas back garden. It was over just as quickly as it had started. At last, we were going to get to start our extended holiday and that of course in true Ozzie style began with a bbq and a cold beer in the sunshine. We spent 10 months out there and had a blast. We saw some amazing beaches, we went into the outback and we had a road trip, from Sydney to Melbourne, where we stayed for a week. Australia was an amazing experience and something I'm pleased and proud to have done with Frank. We will certainly be going back someday!