Every parent expects that at some point, the apron strings will be cut and their children will fly away. Yes, I know this is a mix of metaphors, but stay with me, I’m in a confused state right now. My apron strings have not been gently cut, but ripped apart, my baby bird grabbed out of the nest.
Despite adamantly and purposely keeping my children at home or in the safekeeping of a relative, i.e. grandparents, aunt and uncle, my oldest is gone for five days and in a couple of weeks, her sister will leave for three days. They will go off with people I’ve never met, stay somewhere sight unseen, and no-one will check whether they brushed their teeth or ate all their breakfast. All in the name of “education”.
As part of the curriculum of her magnet program, Elle left this morning on a bus with 100 other kids to New York City to return on Friday. They’re tasked to learn about American history, make a film, experience the city. I don’t know. Stuff I think they could’ve done right here in nearby Washington DC and come home after dinner. Then Breeze will be off to outdoor education – a 3-day exploration in camping lodges to learn about the environment and stars and GPS systems. I don’t know why they have to stay overnight to do it. And then Girl Scout camping is coming up; they’ve gone before, but I’ve always went with them. Now the youngest one wants to go, but I can’t make the trip.
Snip snip snip
My frustration and anxiety is multi-fold on this whole going away issue. There’s the general concern of whether my child will be okay and what happens if there’s an emergency. How the heck am I going to get to New York City quick enough if she gets hurt or lost? I’m a little perturbed by the school system’s assumption that parents are alright with sending their kids off into the woods for days at a time. Sure, we could say “no”, but then your kid is the weirdo, lone kid who didn’t go on the trip and is left back at school doing worksheets. GS camping? Where is she going to go when she gets up in the middle of the night and wants to crawl in bed with her mommy?
There’s also a whole other aspect of this separation that only hit me as I was packing Elle’s things. The kids have never been apart from each other for this long, either. There have been the occasional times that someone ended up at their grandparents and someone stayed home, for random logistical reasons related to wanting or not wanting to go to someone else’s activity. But gone, like gone gone? No, they’ve been like peas in pod since day one.
I feel a sense of powerlessness and loss of control over my children. Their little fingers are slipping out of my hands, and they are wandering off out of my reach. I don’t know that I actually had a decision to make in sending them on these ventures, it just seemed a given that they would pack their bags and go.
Leaving me here with my raggedy apron with the strings ripped off.
|Elle on her first field trip to NYC with me, when the apron strings were securely tied.|
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