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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Letting Go

I should be turning cartwheels and happily enjoying my first moments of a four day weekend alone. (I promise, I will do that soon.) I'm just having a bit of sadness here.

Young One's school owns an environmental learning center about 4 hours North of our house. It's just one more reason that we love our district. Every year, the fifth graders of his school get to spend a four day weekend there. It's a tradition at his school. And every parent I've talked to whose child has participated has had a blast. It's a jam packed weekend of bog stomping, wall climbing, archery, environmental studies, and just hanging out in the woods with your classmates. It's sort of a right of passage. It's the time when their class begins to bond as a class.

Young One has been very nervous about going and, I think, Hubby was too. He's chaperoning. I don't envy him, but I am so thankful that he's going. It's good to get to know other parents and the kids better. Having a boy, though, it wasn't an option for me to go. Secretly, all of us wives have been chatting. The dads were all pretty reluctant to go. Hey, I've done my time volunteering, this will make up for it.

There were lots of anxious parents and kids there this morning. For many kids, this was the first time away from home for more than just a night. We arrived bright and early. Young One's biggest fear? That he and his best friend would not be on the same bus. They assign buses and yes, his fear came true. While they're assigned to the same cabin, they weren't on the same bus. And this just broke his heart. And then, horror of horrors, he started to cry in front of his classmates. Well, for about 2 minutes, anyway. Enough to make me feel horrible.

As I looked around, it appeared that the members of the planning committee's kids all seemed to be on the same buses with their best friends, but I may have been seeing through the eyes of the MAD MOM. You know, mother bear, mother cougar starting to growl and grumble, looking for a chance to pounce. That mom. The one we all have lurking underneath our smiles. Don't hurt my kid. Such a strong instinct to protect, to fix, to make it all better.

The Momma Lion in me asked if we could do some switching, but I was met with the unrelenting stare of the PTA president. Now, I'm a little embarrassed for saying anything because he did find another good friend to sit with and when last I saw him, he was sitting as far away from his dad on the bus as he could get. Or, at least, that's what it appeared to be. Perhaps I was waving at some other kid. The smokey glass of the bus made it difficult to discern if there even were children on the bus!

These little steps of breaking away are hard. I wish What to Expect When You're Expecting would release a how-to book for preteens. You know, sort of a manual for how to hold yourself back when life throws your kid a curve ball, that in the end will just teach him to be a more adaptable person. There could be chapters about how to give them roots and wings. There could be chapters about how not to embarrass them. There could be a whole chapter about how to develop a secret code that would stand in place of a hug in public. ("Don't touch me in front of my friends," he has said, repeatedly.)

I do know that my kid is an intense person. He's a worrier. He needs a lot of predictability, which is hard because I'm a spontaneous person. He likes to know what to expect and he expected four hours with his best bud on the bus and this didn't happen. Will he survive? Certainly. Could we have pushed a bit more than we did? Maybe, but then I would have been THAT Mom. You know, the one that micromanages her kid's life and makes an ass of herself. I wasn't willing to go that far.

He'll have a good weekend. More than learning about the environment, he'll learn about being relatively on his own (despite dad being there--he won't be with dear old dad that much). He'll get closer to a lot of classmates. He'll find out that he can survive away from his best friend and that he can actually thrive without him.

Teachers and other parents have all told me that he is very well liked at school. A mom just told me this morning that he has so many friends and is so kind to everyone. I'm proud that he's in the top of his class, but I'm even prouder of the fact that last year he was voted unanimously as the kid that everyone in his class would like to be friends with. That means so much more to me than good grades.

I'll worry this weekend. I'll think about him. I've calmed down from the stress of the morning and I'm ready to move forward with some really great personal time for me. I miss those days when it was easier. When they're small, they're problems are smaller. Don't hit. Use your inside voice. Eat your vegetables. When they get older, the issues become bigger and it's not as easy to deal with as a mom.

And we haven't even started with girls yet. Sigh.

I had about 2 tears when I got home. No big, ugly, sobbing cry. After all, his dad is with him and now that I've written about it and talked to a friend, I feel much better. I decided I'd better not dwell on being lonesome and start enjoying MY time. As a mom, we get so little of this, I'm gonna savor it.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like their going to have a blast....

    me time, please explain that phrase to me?
    Take advantage of it girl, goodness only know when it's going to happen again!

    Letting them go through things and not fixing everything for them is the hardest thing we have to do. We know it all helps them grow and BLAH BLAH BLAH but believe me I am ONE OF THOSE MOMS and I have started to just let the pieces fall where they may. It kills me but were all better because of it.


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