As more and more families opt for a multi-generational holiday, nineteen year old student, Caitlin writes about what it is like to holiday with her grandparents.
My grandparents have always played a huge part in my life. They were in their 50’s when I was born and have always been active and not ‘armchair grandparents’ as some of my friends affectionately call theirs. Because of this I have spent a week with them in their villa in Portugal every year for nineteen years and it has never seemed odd to me.
However this year it was a little different; in the year since my last holiday with them I have moved out of my family home and gone off to University, which means I have essentially started my adult life and gained masses of independence. So, naturally coming back home for the summer was a little strange- simple things like not doing my own food shopping and having to ask my parents if my boyfriend (of four years) can come over. So, going on holiday with my grandparents meant that I was not only the child, I was the grandchild. As most people probably can understand, no matter how old you are, the role you have in the family will never change; you will always be the child, the grandchild.
I spent the holiday regressing so that I was once again the child in the family; easy going and joining in with activities whilst at the same time springing into my nineteen year old self if anything needs to be done like cooking dinner or helping lift something heavy. It is a really natural way of being and I do not even notice I am doing it.
My grandparents are fairly traditional – they do not like piercings, tattoos, reality television – and on a lot of these points I agree with them but the reason they dislike these things are different from mine – my generation is different from theirs and I am growing up in a completely different culture. I am devoted to my laptop, I use social media, I don’t watch much TV preferring iPlayer or YouTube. These things do not translate easily with most grandparents. So we leave technology behind for a week and focus on things that we all enjoy, like going out for lunch, hanging around the pool and going to the beach. My sister, cousins and I also read during our holiday because my grandparents are big on reading and it is something we can all join in with and discuss; it is something that’s inclusive for all generations.
I suppose the thing about family holidays is that no matter how old you are, you can always enjoy being in a hot country, eating good food and have fun spending time with your family away from the stress of rainy England. And for that week you naturally slot into your role in the family and the generational gap disappears because you are in a totally neutral situation that you can all enjoy for what it is, a family holiday.