Just over a week ago Logan, my oldest child went on his year 6 residential trip. It’s another one of those milestones your child hits and you see the years just racing by far quicker than you would truly want them to. He prepared for the week with lots of excitement and when the time came, despite some reservations I had as Logan is autistic, I knew that he was ready to go. He was ready for this adventure and it was right that he was going. I could also see it is an important step towards getting him ready for secondary school in September. All of these things logically made sense. But it’s another one of those milestones isn’t it, where you need to suck in your own feelings, take a deep breath and take your hands off those invisible tethers and slowly let your child go a little more. even if it hurts a little bit inside.
It’s another one of those milestones isn’t it, where you need to suck in your own feelings, take a deep breath and take your hands off those invisible tethers and slowly let your child go a little more.
It was also the first time any of my children have been away from me for more than an overnight stay. It was 7 days with no contact at all. The only notifications we got as parents were daily tweets of what they had been up to where to could scour the photos and see if we could see our child in them. Talking to other parents, it’s pretty standard. But to not know how they were doing, how they were sleeping, if they were happy, if they were getting on with their friends ok, were they scared, happy or desperately wanting to come home was hard. The school did reassure us if anything happened or if our child was very upset they would call, but other than that it was radio silence.
It’s strange because in no other walk of life would you not speak to your child (not of adult age) for that length of time. If I travelled with work or they stayed with relatives I would probably talk to them every day, even if it was just by text if they were busy. But most days I would video call them. So it was a very hard adjustment. As parents, we had to hand him over and trust.
At the end of the week he came back and I was embraced with the best hug over and he came back beaming. It was amazing to see him but it was also a relief that none of my fears had been realised. Yes, it was clear he had worn underwear for more than one day, I had no idea how often he had washed (if at all!), but he didn’t stop talking about all of his amazing adventures and the brilliant time he had had. And I was glad, I might have missed him terribly but it was absolutely the right thing to do to send him and let him go a little bit more, as these things usually are.
The first day back after his trip I knew that Logan was ready to walk to school on his own for the first time. I could see the growth in confidence the trip has given him and I knew it was the next thing I needed to let go of in order for him to grow up into the person he needs to be.
Life with a child is everchanging, I have shared before I never expected one of the hardest parts to be letting them go, but it is. You have to put your feelings aside and do what is right for them even if there is part of you that would like to wrap them in cotton wool forever.