Matthew Munson: holidays, planning and looking ahead to many changes

Bryan gets set for a day at Dover Castle

The Easter holidays are here. Send up the flares; a nice little break from the normal routine of school and hobbies (most of them belonging to my son, of course). We’re looking forward to a few trips; the Marlowe Theatre and London are the “big ones”, and I still have to work, so Bryan gets some visits to a local holiday club whilst I toil away.

I always have a debate with myself as to how much I should organise for a holiday; I do have to work, so a club or society is always a good thing to give Bryan and I a break from each other (being a two-person family is intense, so some time apart is really important). But, of course, I want to spend some quality time with Bryan as well; making some memories and having fun. By the time you read this, we will have spent some time at Dover Castle on an Easter hunt (as you do), and a trip to London to spend time with family which is simple and lovely.

I try not to over plan these holidays, but I do need to be organised; when it’s just us, and I need to fit in some hours working, I need to plan ahead a certain amount. When I was a kid, both of my parents worked, so in the holidays, I spent a lot of time at my nan and granddad’s and loved it – the simple pleasures of going to the shops and sitting in the garden with my nan live in my memory thirty years later. Bryan has some time with his grandparents over Easter, including an exciting sleepover, so he is as high as a kite about that. Family is important, and I want him to know that he is cherished.

Routine is important; I couldn’t imagine living in a chaotic state. I’ve got too much to do; I need to get everything done, and there is always more to do. My boy deserves a dad who is organised as much as possible, although children themselves are agents of chaos, so I can’t always achieve it very easily. Most kids respond well to a routine, and to tell the truth, so do I. Bryan is excited about Easter, but I know he will be excited about going back to school in two and a half weeks as well. I’ll miss him terribly when he goes back, whereas he’ll just be excited about seeing his friends, his teacher, and his teaching assistant.

Bryan is growing up now; he’s 11, and a certain physical change isn’t far off – life will change immensely as the hormones hit. He is already getting slowly more confident in his opinions. I can’t complain too much about that; I’ve been the one encouraging him to speak up and tell me what is going on in that fascinating head of his, so I can’t complain too much when he does exactly that.

I looked at him the other day and really tried to remember how he was three years ago when he first came home; we all do that, I suppose – think back to how our children were in earlier life. Bryan was far smaller but still full of life. Despite his rocky beginnings, there is so much potential about this child (and, it has to be said, his siblings, who I have the great privilege of knowing); all children have potential, I know, and I am genuinely fascinated to see how they use that potential as they grow. Bryan is on the cusp of a new phase in his life; secondary school, puberty, and new friendships are all looming and, while he might not realise it yet, he is going to have to manage a lot of change.

But he won’t go through it alone, of course; his dad will walk by his side – or, more likely, a few steps behind as I become more and more embarrassing to him (but still needed in one way or another). I was thinking of moving this year, but that’s gone on the back burner to give Bryan some stability whilst so many other changes go on – it’s only right. I can’t wait to see what the rest of this year brings, because it’s certainly going to be eventful.