This week I am letting go of my baby
Today is the day my daughter has been waiting for for the past four years. It is the day that she and the rest of her school year go off away for four nights on their first school residential trip.
For her – and most of her friends – it is the first time she’ll have been away from home (staying away at grandparents’ for a night doesn’t count) for any length of time.
We parents had been to meetings galore, signed pages of permission forms, health and safety forms and medical papers, read letters and online communications about the trip.
With each extra piece of information, my daughter became more excited about spending four nights with her friends in the Lake District with teachers and a handful of parent helpers.
The preparation by the school, which has visited the same site and used the same adventure company for years, was faultless.
And although I couldn’t help but have a few pangs that I was cutting the cord a little more, I was happy for her to go.
The purpose of the trip is commendable: to develop independence and teach the children to work together. In just a few days, they will be ghyll scrambling, abseiling, canoeing, carrying out team-building competitions, taking part in quizzes. They are bonding, growing. They are starting to find out who they are, and who they could be.
There will be born leaders and those who are natural followers, but all will be pushed to find their potential. They are all nine and ten years old and are preparing for life beyond the cosseted world of primary school.
As they approach their final year in juniors, they will look like big fish in a tiny pond; they will outgrow their surroundings and will need to spread their wings.
My little girl and her friends are growing up. Fast.
Inevitably, there were nerves and all looked nervous as the coach pulled away from the school gates and parents waved them off. Amazingly, there were no tears from neither children nor adults. Not in public, anyway.
Of course, I miss her already. But I’m looking forward to her return. And I’m expecting many changes.