It’s six o’clock in the morning and I’ve just returned from waving Molly off on her school trip to Normandy, where she’ll be staying for the next five days. I’ve been up since four o’clock, drinking strong black coffee to keep me awake, making bacon sandwiches to send Molly off on a full stomach and generally being a pain in the arse, over-anxious mum.
Last night when I went to bed, I must have checked my alarm clock at least five times to make sure I hadn’t set it for four in the evening – am I the only person who has an alarm clock that’s not twenty-four hour, resulting in me getting stuck in a continuous self-inflicted loop where I go past PM to make sure I’m on AM but then accidentally click past the actual AM hour I need and have to do it all again?
Alarm clock issues aside, it’s been a funny old build up to Molly going on this trip. She’s going to be travelling on a coach all day today, it’s her first time abroad (I know, shocking isn’t it) and of course it’s currently peeing down with rain so I’m doubly concerned about the long journey. Whilst I should feel reassured that she’s older and more independent now than on previous school trips, this has been a double edged sword. She’s taken charge of all her own packing – I’ve just had to supply freshly ironed clothes as and when required, she’s been to meetings at school where the onus has been on her to listen and take note and she hasn’t really needed me much at all. But of course, I’m not having any of that and all week I’ve been on hand to offer a wealth of unwanted advice and to double check her packing to make sure she hasn’t forgotten anything (she hasn’t, I had a sneaky peek at her highly-organised list).
It’s not that I don’t trust Molly, she’s thirteen and extremely capable, it’s just hard as a mum (and a control-freak mum at that) to let your child crack on and do things their own way. I’m slowly getting used to it (I have to, otherwise Molly may kill me) but it’s sometimes hard letting go of the reins to give your child that bit of freedom they need. I wonder if I’m the only mum who struggles with this or if I’m just not very good at hiding it? Besides which, I’m really going to miss my little mate. Yes, she spends ninety percent of her time in her room either looking at some sort of screen or sleeping, but for the rest of the time when she’s actually around, she’s really good company and I love those rare moments we spend together (when we’re not bickering about schoolwork and suchlike).
So we stood at the school, watching as our children got on the coach and after talking to a couple of other parents and joking about things that could possibly go wrong (they joked, I pretended to laugh along), I started to feel reassured that Molly is going to be just fine over the next few days. The teachers all looked in control, the children were dazed and uncharacteristically quiet due to the early start and the coach looked pretty sturdy, with all wheels intact. The only potential problem I could foresee was with the coach driver’s brown Jesus sandals. What if he gets one of his sandals wedged under a pedal when he’s changing gear? I asked my friend, Jane. She reassured me that this is unlikely to happen but I know how tricky those pedals can be when I don a pair of sandals in the car.
Anyway, the coach pulled off smoothly so I can only assume that the driver was fully in control of his footwear and I joked that I would follow them in my car just as far as the first motorway services. I think my friend believed me.
And here I am, whiling away an hour or so because it’s too early for some retail therapy to take my mind off things and too late to go back to bed. I know that this is a really fantastic opportunity that Molly didn’t want to miss, I know that the kids will have an amazing time and create some special, long-lasting memories and deep down I know that Molly won’t really starve even though she’s fussy about food.
I know all of these things….but I wouldn’t be doing my job properly if I didn’t worry a little bit would I?