Family holidays are fun, aren’t they!? That’s only five per cent sarcastic by the way – I do genuinely think they’re great. Just recently I had a wonderful time with my family on a trip we took to Singapore. I really enjoyed myself – took in the sights, ate some delicious Singapore crab, lost one of the children for hours on a train. Oh yes, that was definitely a highlight; the memories made while trying to track down my 10-year-old in a foreign land will last a lifetime.
Before you call child protective services on me, let me explain what happened. (If you want to, you can call the authorities on my wife, as it was basically her fault we lost my son*).
Off we trotted to the train station, my wife Helen and our three kids all excited to experience something new (I was going to order Singapore noodles instead of crab that day). Everything was going well until Helen panicked when she realised we were on the wrong train. Instead of calmly explaining our predicament and letting everyone know we should all quickly, but in no way hysterically, depart this train in order to get on another one, she sprang out of the carriage as quickly as Usain Bolt jumps out of the starters block at the beginning of the 100 metres. The woman was bloody fast! I instinctively followed Helen, and our eldest two followed me, but poor old Dom, our youngest, oblivious to his family’s quest to alight this steel compartment of emotion as quickly as possible, was left on the train. Which is good, because out of all your kids you want to lose the youngest don’t you?
I suppose in some way it was Singapore’s public transport system that really let us down and induced the sort of terror you feel when you realise you’ve left your wallet at the pub - times about 10 obviously. The trains are just so efficient in Singapore! There’s no mucking around like there is here where the trains stop for a cup of tea and a biscuit at each station. Before we knew it, Dom was speeding away from us.
Feeling anxious but realising the potential I had here to save the day, I figured out where the train was going and jumped in a cab that took me to the next station - the place I thought Dom was going to end up. Through the acute panic and the flash-forwards to the worst possible scenarios, a part of me was thinking, "How much of a hero dad I am going to be! The little guy’s going to be so concerned and there I’ll be at the platform waiting to great him!"