Time off from parenting: the one thing I think I want, and then when I have it, turns out the little blighters leave a hole so big that you just can’t fill it.
For two nights, 11YO is away on a school residential. Walking, cycling, quad biking and general team building at a scout camp just out of town is on the menu. For me, this means 50% less arguing and nagging to get ready in the morning, one less variety of evening meal to prepare, 100% less trying to win the argument that playing Minecraft every waking hour of the day is neither necessary or beneficial. It also means I’ve written three blog posts including this one and planned out a short story. So a lot less hassle and plenty of useful, enjoyable stuff getting done.
But God, it’s weird! And not really very nice. There’s a nagging feeling in the back of my mind. Is she warm enough? Will she sleep ok? Are the other kids being nice to her? Her bedroom, so full of the stuff of her life, a million note half scribbled-in notebooks, scrumpled socks cast into a corner, Manga comic books and unfinished homework projects, makes me ache when I walk past it. She fills the house with her crazy, untidy, highly-strung pre-teen presence, and although it’s calmer and quieter without her, it’s actually a bit too quiet.
I’m not a praying person. But tonight I’ll be doing whatever us atheists do – hoping, wishing on a star, sending positive thoughts into the cosmos – that she’s happy and warm, doing a bit of growing up and having adventures, and that she comes back safe and sound – soon.