Sri Lanka. I have heard many people refer to it as “the land of milk and honey”, it is quite a remarkable place.
Each year at least once, if I am lucky sometimes even twice a year, my in laws go on holiday to this beautiful country where they stay for usually a few extremely short days, on average between four to six weeks. But the time truly does pass by faster than you know it and personally it feels as though they have only been gone for a few short hours. If not mere minutes.
My in laws, although well intentioned and wonderful people, can become a handful, especially considering they only live down the road from us. Which is why I make it no secret that I look forward to their holidays even more so than what they do. In fact I think they find the situation as well as my enthusiasm rather amusing.
As much as I long for their holiday events to come round, they always do fill my soul with the deepest amount of grief as I am always faced with the single most difficult question of my life from them:
“So when are you taking the children to Sri Lanka?”
They know the answer to this question. They have known the answer for the last five years. Yet they still continue to harass us.
My in laws inform me that they have to tell their relatives that because we have four children we can’t possibly make the trip. This is yet another sore point for me. I have asked them several times never to blame my four innocent children for something which they have absolutely nothing to do with.
It by far isn’t the children’s fault that we don’t go on holiday to Sri Lanka. Many couples go overseas with four or more children quite successfully. To suggest that we can’t make an overseas trip because of our children not only insults but disgusts me.
My in laws would prefer to tell people that my children, their own flesh and blood, are the cause of us not being able to travel overseas. In fact they think it’s wonderful to laugh and make jokes about how absolutely horrible they think my children are.
Now of course as their mother it is my duty to defend my children. In this case however I don’t feel that I really need to. My children are very young. Two of them are not even speaking yet. They test their boundaries, as all young children do. They by all means are not out of control, outrageously nasty nor destructive children. They don’t bring harm to any other living being and they mind their own business. If I could I would take them on overseas holidays in a heartbeat.
There are two very real reasons why we are unable to travel overseas. One is that we, just like many other people all around the world, cannot afford it. In fact at this point in time we can’t even make credit card, or house repayments. A holiday of any kind, where money is needed, is completely out of the question.
This is something which I am comfortable with. I don’t need a holiday to make myself feel complete. I am happy and feel content just waking up in the morning with all my children. I know it’s a perfect day if we all wake up- what more could you possibly need.
The second reason is something which is more personal, which I can only hope not a lot of people can relate to, the devastating truth however is that there will be people out there that will sadly be able to relate with my second reason.
When I was nine years old, my mother took my family on holiday to Sri Lanka. Where I was molested and almost raped. I wish I could erase every single memory from that time. Worse than the memory of the ordeal itself is the memory of my mother’s reaction to me telling her about it.
At the time I didn’t know about sex. I remember describing blow by blow what the man, who was our driver at the time, had done to me. She refused to believe a word of it. She told me that I was making the whole thing up because what I was saying couldn’t possibly be true as the man had a wife as well as a daughter just my age.
The word ‘sick’ doesn’t quite cover exactly how I feel as I recount the event. I just want to pretend that it didn’t happen. In fact I was doing a wonderful job of pretending that part of my life didn’t exist. Right up until I became a mother. Then the memories and night terrors came flooding back.
To this day I still wake up screaming at night. My hands tremble as I type this. My eyes are filled with tears to a point where the writing on the screen is hardly visible.
I have been to counselling, for all those who are wondering at this point if I have got help. Counselling is brilliant because it arms you with coping strategies. Sadly however it does not erase the ordeal from ones life as much as I wish it could.
With time I have managed to come to terms with my mother’s reaction as well. After all she was newly divorced at the time and she probably didn’t want to have seemed to have failed by taking us on that damn holiday.
She must genuinely not have believed me as she continued to leave me alone with that man. If it wasn’t me it was my brother and he was only two at the time. The man knew he could use my brother as bait.
He knew I would not leave my brother alone with him just in case he hurt my brother as well. I suppose my mother was able to ration out each time I would try to run away in fear. The man carrying my brother and chasing me was not a game. He had my brother knowing I would not abandon the two year old, but he was chasing me to try hurt me again. It must have looked like we were having a lot of fun. Even though I am certain I would have looked completely terrified- if she had bothered to look.
Even if she did believe me, would she have done anything. I mean after all the man was married and he had a child. Who would believe it. Besides she was newly divorced- everyone at the time looked down on divorced mothers.
I know I have to go back eventually, face my fear and create new memories. I would like to be in control of exactly when that happens though.
Perhaps the most disappointing part of this whole thing for me is the lack of support from my husband. When I explained the situation to him and his parents lack of care and I suggested that I simply notify all the extended family, via a Facebook status that we simply can’t afford a holiday and that it is of no fault of our children, he refused. He said that not being able to afford a holiday to Sri Lanka was too embarrassing and that is really what disgusted me the most.
My in laws have taught their son that life is a show. They compete with everyone around them over who has the most wealth. Regardless of anyone’s feelings. They know my reasons for not going to Sri Lanka. They choose to place the blame on my innocent children rather than simply admitting to their extended family that we simply can’t afford it right now.
My hope for my children is that they learn the beauty of waking up, happy, content and just at peace with life simply grateful for the fact that they have woken up to a new day, and if those they love and hold dear to them wake up also, then they are even more blessed.
If you have read this, thank you so very much for your time.
Posted by someonesmother, 22nd May 2014