Friday, 2 March 2012

Countdown to a Rite of Passage

Clothes are washed, tickets purchased, suitcase agreed upon and parents briefed. 
We’re in the final countdown for the first kid-free week we’ve had since the ManChild burst into out lives a little over 15 years ago.
Next Saturday, I’ll be one of 70 or more parents waving goodbye as our offspring head off for a school trip in Italy. And though it’s not the first time we’ve been apart, it’ll be the first time he’ll be away for days and not in the company of anyone he’s related to.

Of course, he can’t wait. He’ll be with his friends, herded noisily by a brave band of volunteer teachers through the streets Rome, Naples and Pompei (yes, I AM jealous). No doubt he’ll have a blast, not get enough sleep, eat too much junk food, forget to clean his teeth, and return to us with a suitcase bulging with badly packed, smelly unmentionables.

It’s a Rite of Passage - but not for him.

I, on the other hand, will be counting the minutes til he arrives back home full of cappuccinos, pasta al dente and tales of unlikely alliances formed during the trip to Bella Italia.

I’m a reasonable woman, and I hope not a clingy parent. I know he’s responsible and sensible and won’t come to any harm. I’m sure he won’t fall foul of mobsters in a dark alley in Napoli. I’ve sworn not to flood him with text messages. And I’m pretty sure that he won’t be invited to any Bunga-Bunga parties.

I shall smile bravely and say how lucky they are as the coach pulls away from the school. I shall be the very model of an easy-going mum. But inside, it will be a very different story.

Tell me, why do our kids have to reach these milestones on their way to becoming adults just as the Pre-menopause Fairy is sprinkling hormone dust over me as I sleep?  Isn’t it enough having to deal with my little darling turning into a monosyllabic moocher with more mood swings than a playground, without me going through my own little dance?

So, think of me next Saturday.
Or perhaps you should spare a thought for my hapless hubby as I juggle the joys of fluctuating hormones and missing my little monster?


  1. Gosh is it the first time he's been away? We live in France where school trips start in primary school!

    Anyway, I hope it all goes well, and I'm sure he'll be fine, and you will too. Enjoy the peace and you-time. :)

  2. Oh can be a little.....emotional.
    I suggest alcohol and cake....give it a try and good luck.

  3. OOh I imagine I will be exactly the same when my toddler turns 15. It really is a rights of passage for you as much as him. He will love every second no doubt. You should take the opportunity to have you time!