Being a single Mum and having suffered from a debilitating and disabling illness for the last seven years I couldn't even contemplate the idea of taking my young daughter Lilia on holiday, but I could dream, couldn't I?!! That was until, quite by chance (or fate) I discovered Single Parents on Holiday! Clicking on their website I smiled as I read about all the wonderful destinations, luxury hotels and fun activities! I pored over photos of happy smiling faces having fun in the sun… It all looked so lovely and yes I dreamed on!
I remember the first time I spoke to Sandra. She quietly and patiently listened as I rambled on about my illness, my symptoms and my concerns about taking a lively five year old on holiday! How on earth would I be able to cope? It was impossible, wasn't it? I fully expected Sandra to reinforce my concerns and tell me that she didn't think a holiday would be suitable under the circumstances... But she didn't! Instead she gently explained that she thought a holiday would be GOOD for us and that we would be very well looked after, how I could rest and relax in the sunshine while my daughter splashed about in the pool and took part in fun activities! Images of those lovely website photos popped into my head. Could it really be a possibility??
I'm still not quite sure what happened but within hours I had booked us a holiday to Ronda in Spain staying at a rather lovely converted olive mill, and for the first time in a very long time I felt that everything was going to be ok! Fast forward two months later I found myself standing in the arrivals hall at Malaga airport suitcase in one hand and a very excited little girl clinging on to the other! We were warmly greeted by Ian, the kindly British owner of our villa hotel. I gratefully handed over my suitcase and as he drove us through the Spanish hills any remaining fears and worries just melted away! I instinctively knew we were in very good hands! It was all good and as Lilia drifted off to sleep I found myself smiling as Ian told me all about his lovely family and their life in Spain! On arrival at what was to become our oasis Lilia and I were given the best welcome and the biggest hug (and a much appreciated cool drink) by Ian's lovely wife Elaine, and from then on in we were treated to a special week of amazing food, excellent company and fun activities all in the most beautiful hotel in an amazing location! They also went out of their way to take extra special care of me making sure I felt ok and wasn't struggling. They went that extra mile to make sure I didn't get too fatigued by keeping special eye on Lilia and driving me around so I didn't ever have to walk too far! After an incredible week in their lovely home we waved a tearful goodbye but with a happy grateful heart…because we'd done it!! And achieved so much more in the process… Something so incredible and special that money can't buy… And yes it just goes to show that dreams really do come true!
Lisa and Lilia (6)