Just before the kids broke up for the Christmas break, Mrs Adams and I received an email from Helen and Izzy’s school. It was a very simple message, but my heart has been aching ever since.
The message in question was to inform us that Helen, our eldest child, will be invited to participate in her first, overnight residential school trip in the autumn term of 2019. The trip will last six days, the longest she has ever been apart from us.
I think it’s a given she will go on the trip. Helen’s already telling us she wants to go and it would be a great experience.
Even so, it’s a sign this young girl is growing up and growing up fast. An entire week away from her family will be an exciting adventure for her. For the rest of us, in particular Mrs Adams and I, it’ll be another parenting milestone reached and a further reminder of how independent she is becoming.
It was telling that when the email arrived I saw the subject line and left it unopened. I knew I’d have to deal with it, but I had to be in the correct frame of mind.
Mrs Adams had been copied into the message. She reacted very differently and opened it straight away. She then sent me a one line email: “Aww man – she’s getting to that age!!” it said. This summed up my thoughts entirely.
When I eventually read the email myself, I was reminded of the six days I spent apart from my family when I visited Australia a couple of years ago. I had an amazing time and returned home with massive blisters on my feet because of all the walking I had done around the city of Melbourne.
Even so, I shed tears before leaving the UK because I couldn’t quite get my had around being apart from my wife and kids for so long. I know Helen won’t see a week wit her her friends on an activity break as anything other than a fun experience. She probably won’t even think of us.
For me, her main carer for most of her life, it’ll be very different. I’m pretty sure between now and the moment the coach pulls away from the school gates I’ll shed a tear or two.
When I was a similar age, I recall going on a riverboat trip with the Cub Scouts. It was a big event in my life and I got a lot out of it. I’m sure Helen will get a lot out of the trip, but I’ll miss her terribly.
It may seem like I’m getting worked up over nothing. Days after Helen returns from the residential trip, we’ll be submitting her application for a secondary school place. That’ll be two big milestones reached very soon after each other.
Kids grow up so fast and I’m sure that as they get older, they grow-up faster still. Today it’s a residential school trip, in a few year’s it’ll be overseas holidays and backpacking adventures.
To build up the skills she needs to handle those overseas adventures, she needs to experience things like school residential trips. She’s got to do it, but wow am I going to miss my first born.
Have you been through this? If so what was it like when your kids went away for such a long period of time? If you haven’t experienced it, does the thought of your kids going on a residential trip make your heart ache?