Amber hazard lights flicker against the dusky Monday morning whilst lines of autumn attired parents stand waving to a blacked out window. Somewhere behind those windows are our offspring, bound excitedly for foreign shores, with trusted proficient teachers.
Days of re-packing and packing her suitcase BigL has been more than ready for this trip awhile. She's researched the venue, regaled us with their curriculum of activities, probably organized who is wearing what on which day with her friends and brushed away my concerns about hygiene, safety and behaviour.
The morning check-in of bagged up medication and passports came and went in a flash, and then suddenly with a cursive kiss amongst a hug that I didn't want to end - she was gone.
GeordieLad is a big fan of the school journey; he was fortunate enough to go on many trips so believes them to be a brilliant experience - one that will aid confidence and happiness. I'd like to wholeheartedly agree - and I guess deep down I do - but I also hate the way that I miss her terribly, the way I worry that some awful event will take place on the ferry or the coach or the hostel and I hate the way that I somehow feel off kilter until she returns. Like I'm walking sideways or the house is tipped on edge.
I admit this to few as responses are often to placate me. And I don't want to sound like some crazed mother with apron strings for arms. I do indeed want to send the girls on these type of holidays - where they venture and discover themselves, practise languages, abseil, canoe, run riot and huddle in dorms chatting themselves hoarse 'til the early hours.
But it's times like this when I regret every time I've told her off, moaned at her to redo the chore that she has half-done, hassled her about pushing herself more on the rugby pitch, sent her back upstairs to clean her face properly, stropped when she doesn't kiss me or say goodbye audibly in the playground. All of this suddenly means nothing when I don't know where she is or have no control of what she's doing.
And there it is. Control. That motherly need to know what, where, when, why, who and how. So as much as this is a great opportunity for BigL to be independent and experience freedom; it's also an opportunity for me to trust, let go and have faith in the grounding that we've given her.
Dunno who said it but this is getting me by just now:
There are two gifts we should give our children:
one is roots and
the other is wings.
...until it's their birthday/Christmas and I'm mainlining Amazon because roots and wings won't wrap that easy.