The easiest way to survive family holidays is to have no expectations at all

By Justine O'Mahony

Family holidays seem like a great idea in theory but in reality they're not. You start off with such high expectations only for them to be shattered into tiny pieces before you've even had a chance to slather on the factor 50. The easiest way to survive them is to have no expectations at all. Then you can't be disappointed.

This year's holiday reached an all time low even before we left the airport. We had the annual row the night before we left over how many pairs of shoes I was bringing. I hid them in a black bag and lied. But they were discovered in a last-minute check and I was sternly reprimanded and sent to the naughty corner.

This resulted in a silent drive to Dublin airport. Well when I say silent I mean the adults were mute. Unfortunately the children weren't. 'What game shall we play now?' Asked the 11-year-old, 20 minutes in to the journey.

We got to the airport only to realise we'd forgotten the keys to the apartment we were staying in. Numerous phone calls ensued to try and get someone to bail us out. Fortunately a nephew was already there so arranged to leave keys for us. Whew. That was a close one.

A trip to duty free didn't improve matters when Himself realised he'd forgotten his credit card. He rang the credit card company but couldn't remember his pin. I was preoccupied in mac trying on lipsticks and wasn't unduly worried till he said, 'sure you have your credit card don't you?'

The thought of trying to live on my credit card for a fortnight was beyond laughable. 'You're not serious? My card is maxed out. My card is ALWAYS maxed out,' I tell him.

Probably not the cleverest thing to say as I clutched four lipsticks and an eyeshadow palette to my chest. Cue lecture on how irresponsible I am with money so now we're REALLY not talking. The four of us sit in departures in silence - the kids plugged into electronic devices and us two, studiously ignoring each other.

You may be relieved to know that we made up on the plane when we were forced to sit in seats surrounded by the stench of vomit. On complaining to the air hostess, we were told there was nothing she could do about it.

'She could have at least pretended to care,' I sniffed. Himself agreed. 'I tell you one thing, this is the last time we fly with this crowd,' he declares. I start to laugh. 'You say that every year.'

'Do I?' 'Yes.'

He looks at his phone to check the time. It's noon. 'Will we have a drink?'

'Ah feck it we're on our holidays.' I say, as if I ever need an excuse.

A fragile peace has been restored... for now.

Wexford People