Hard To Say Goodbye | I wanna live with you dad, in your van

When I separated from my boys mum, I knew exactly what I was going to do. Van Life. No two ways about it. "The kids will love it!" I thought. "Every weekend will be an adventure".

If only it was that simple... I thought saying goodbye, see you soon, would be the hardest the first time round. But as usual, I couldn't have been more wrong. In fact, if I'd have wildly guessed that the moon was made of brie with a delicious hot cranberry centre I'd be more correct.

Today I had an unexpected opportunity to have the youngest for a few hours whilst his mum got on with some bits and bobs. He'd been playing up quite a lot lately, so I took this as an opportunity to have a chat with him about why he can't walk past his bigger brother without drawing on him or calling him an, and I quote "orangutan with a fat butt and hairy eyeballs". Also on the list of things to talk about was his incessant screaming that has the neighbours 17 streets away wondering why that supersonic boom sounded so weird.

We drive around for a bit, and I'm only half listening to his non stop barrage of Why's and what's and what ifs. When I hear a sentence that jolts me back in to life that I'll never ever forget:

"I want to live with you, dad. In your van."

My eyes well up, and a tear rolls down my face. (Just as it is doing now. I'm not crying. You're crying). "Don't cry daddy. It'll be brilliant!" "I'm not crying mate, the sun's in my eyes" I whip back. Quick as a flash the little sod said "But it's raining!" Dammit.

So how do you tell a 5 year old that Van Life is really hard. That it's a way to a means for some. It's not like it is in the photos we all love to portray across the many platforms of social media? The scantily clad humans watching sunsets whilst the bbq magically cooks all the food without so much as a puff of smoke to choke you or send you blind. Hot naked showers by the back door of the van at sunrise. Well I have no clue. Where does one start? "Fancy a milkshake boy" is all I could muster at that moment, then several moments later I'm wondering where the hell I'm going to get one of those from...

I eventually find an actual milkshake machine in a petrol station of all places! Thank you Google and your search bar! "milkshake near me" was a winner!We pull into a little car park near a nature reserve, jump in the back and whack a movie on. The distraction was about as useful as a chocolate teapot. "But anyway Daaaad, I want to live with you in the van" Cue another tear!

After a lot of explaining and answering more awkwardly probing questions than Prime Ministers Question Time, we finally came to an agreement that whilst I have inadvertently activated a future van lifer, a house and his mummy is the best option for him right now.Unfortunately for his mum, we never got round to the fighting and screaming. Sorry 'bout that.

Today, was absolutely the hardest goodbye so far.

I'm off now to check the mirror as I think there's something in my eye... Like a brick. Or a missile or something. I dunno. It's watering like mad though...

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