Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Worry and the school trip

This time last week I found myself in the 'sports megastore' that is Decathlon.

Completely ignoring the written instructions issued to me - by the activity centre that The Nine Year Old has now visited - to not spend money on new items,  I found myself spending a serious amount of cash on waterproof clothing and footwear, fleece lined stuff, a backpack and a pull-along suitcase.

The reason behind this particular incidence of consumer madness? A lame attempt to ease the worry of the residential school trip that was looming.  Because you see, the thing is this. Us parents.  WE WORRY.  A lot.  Some of us take this to extreme and worry about anything and everything.  I'd like to think that I'm not that extreme but I know that this is mainly me LYING to myself.   I try to play it cool but with little success.

By the time I left the Decathlon store I could happily have packaged The Nine Year Old off on a month long skiing trip in the Alps rather than a two day school trip to Lancashire.

On this occasion, the worries, to name but a few, went a little like this:
  • School trip = potential coach crash. Obviously.
  • Activity Centre = countless number of potential injuries beyond those of everyday life - unless of course you spend your everyday life canoeing, abseiling, traipsing, 15mph zip-wiring, swimming with piranhas.  I kid you not, this is just a taste of the ACTUAL real things The Nine Year old and 39 of his school mates did on this trip.
  • Potential illness - ranging from the common cold right through to fatal virus.
  • Having no friends - despite him having lots of friends going on the trip.
  • Getting no sleep - him or me. 
  • Not eating 'cos he doesn't like the food.
  • Freezing to death due to not wearing any of the clothes I bought and packed for him.
The thing that made me feel better about the whole thing - aside from knowing that he had the right clothes to keep him warm and dry - was that I know that my eldest son is surprisingly resilient for a - relatively sensitive - boy of nine and also both he, and I, are confident in his abilities.  This, and the fact that he was giddy as a kipper the night before to the point of singing at the top of his voice in the shower "I'm so excited and I just can't hide it.....".

The next morning saw a gaggle of parents chatting nervously to each other as we waited to wave off our kids. 

My parting words of wisdom to The Nine Year Old: " ...have lots of fun and please put your hood up if and when it rains".  To which he replied: "Ok.  I'll have lots of fun putting my hood up".

That's my boy.

There were a few tears.  But only from the parents once the coach had pulled away.

And now here we are, two days after he arrived back safely home with lots of stories to tell, feeling very proud of himself.  I will never know if the hood ever went up.  Or indeed if the coat was even worn.  I only know one thing for sure....he came home wearing his pyjama top.

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