School trips have changed….
One week and one day ago, I waved goodbye to the 13 year old at Manchester Airport as we watched a group of school kids go off on a school trip.
Not to Wigan Pier, not to Conwy Castle, not to the Lake District but to travel thousands of miles across the pond for a week’s skiing in New Hampshire and two days in NYC.
The anxious one was most anxious about her travelling so far away…..and so was the 13 year old. It was made all the more tearful by the 4am drop off at the airport with not even a cup of coffee to calm the nerves. The next ten hours were mainly spent obsessing watching flight tracker as her plane managed to avoid the terrible potential disasters I had imagined and landed safely in Boston.
The joy of social media alleviated the school trip parent stress syndrome (STPSS) as the lovely teachers updated regularly on a (private) twitter account.
Five days of skiing then ensued with various pictures of the girls looking more and more tired. The pictures of the parents would have showed far more wrinkles, more stress and more tiredness than displayed during the first years of parenting.
Who knew that an exciting adventure for the 13 year old would manifest in such parental panic for me. I naively thought that as my small things grew up, I would worry less. As I became more confident that they would breathe through the night, I would start to chill out on their development, growth and survival. But it turns out that when you put a 13 year old on a plane from Manchester to Boston that invisible umbilical cord that continues to bind us together is stretched a little bit farther than I would like.
Who knew that parents would panic like this? When I buggered off on my school ski trip I never gave my parents a passing thought (sorry mum, oops dad). When we were stranded in Dover for 18 hours waiting for the ferry (no flights in them there days) I didn’t think whether my mum and dad would be wondering where I was, I was simply staring at the White Cliffs of Dover.*
When we were skiing in France, I didn’t consider that mum and dad may be spending every day wondering whether I was safe, happy and well – and all without wifi and mobile phones to allow me to check in.
|‘This is what I’m having for breakfast’ text|
I’ve heard from the 13 year old (almost) daily. To be fair I have mainly heard what she has had for breakfast, a question as to whether she should change her thermals on the third day (erm yes) and other random text that mainly didn’t include her skiing adventures. But she was in contact – and so I knew she was alive (minimising the need for the healing powers of wine to cope with STPSS)*.
And then tomorrow the traveller returns home. I will squeeze her so tight when I finally see her face in the airport tomorrow (following a traumatic 12 hours ahead tracking flights across a rather large expanse of water) and hug her close and thank the heavens she is back where she belongs…and then I reckon I will probably start shouting within about 30 minutes.
And normality will resume. I. cannot. wait.
*that’s a lie, we may have been chatting to boys from Dover
* again that’s a lie, there’s always a need for wine