For very nearly a whole week I was relieved of the immediate practicalities of parenting.
And that is precisely how much time I need to forget what it is like to have a child at your beck and call.
While an epic six day walk along the whole 84 mile length of Hadrian’s Wall cannot really be described as relaxing, I did get to focus solely on the task in hand, rather than that usually snapping around my heels.
I think, where it is practical, it is good for parents to get breaks from their children, get a chance to focus on themselves for a while, and find time for their own pursuits.
From the very moment my wife died I knew how important it was going to be to not live my life through my son.
He is priority number one of course, but I have to allow him to breath, and I also want to have my own life, for many reasons, but not least as so he doesn’t feel under any stress later in life to make decisions based on what makes me happy, or unhappy.
This last week apart will help emphasise that, even if he doesn’t realise it at the minute.
But I’d forgotten how different my life is with him around.
I like to laugh, or certainly try to make others chuckle, but there is no one else on the planet that can make me smile as warmly as my boy does.
Nor is there anyone I would let hit me repetitively with a balloon in the face, as he was egged on to do during the first twenty minutes of our car journey home from Carlisle.
I did snap at him a couple of times, which is most unlike me, and I think systematic of being out of parenting mode for a week.
The noise is also something I found myself initially irritated by, and had to adjust back to. It took me a solid 24 hours.
Two school runs, and a spot of volunteering with my son’s class have helped return my mindset to its normal.
Which, actually, is no bad place to be.