This week Lauren is at an ‘activity camp’ in Wiltshire, where she will be able to do everything from archery to horseriding to abseiling and rafting. We dropped her off a few days ago, and all indications are she is having a blast.
I do feel its important for her to spend time away from me – even more so during a year where we will be together a great deal of the time. I see part of my role as a parent to prepare her to operate independently in the world, and so getting her away from me and having to deal with all sorts of social interactions is critical. Someone said that real travel starts at the end of your comfort zone, and I think this also applies more generally to life – to grow, we need to challenge ourselves.
I do worry about her interacting with British kids who may be more materialistic or have more things (we got a 65% discount for a very late booking, and the camp still cost me 300 pounds for a week, so it’s only a certain type of family that will be able to send their kids there) or just be less tolerant of difference than she is used to. When I dropped her off she seemed to be the only one without a mobile phone. She doesn’t have designer gear or expensive trainers and I doubt she could name any celebrities other than ‘Craig the mean judge’ off Strictly (she loves Strictly). I just have to trust that the values and self-belief I’ve brought her up with will withstand any teasing.
In the meantime, I miss her terribly. People always say to me when she is away from me that I should embrace the freedom, and enjoy myself. And I do try. But it’s like part of me is missing and I can’t settle to anything or really enjoy it because I miss her so terribly. I know she is safe, having a good time, and delighted to be where she is, so there is no excuse for me to feel miserable. I thought if I wrote a list of all the positives, it would help, so over a very peaceful, uninterrupted coffee this morning, nursing a hangover, I came up with this list:
- The ability to have a coffee in complete silence.
- The guilt free night out, not worrying about being hungover the next day.
- The possibility of reading an entire chapter of my book without interruption.
- Being able to cross at the lights without the endless ‘wait for the green man’.
- Eating junk food without worrying about setting a bad example.
- Not having to know the specific details of every meal at least two meals in advance.
- Being able to change my mind about something just because I feel like it.
- Being able to wander without a plan.
- Being able to simply decide to go out, grab my coat, bag and keys and go.
- Not having to keep ‘healthy snacks’ on hand at all times.
- Towels actually being on the towel rack and not the bathroom floor.
- The quiet. Oh, the quiet.
Actually, it did help a bit. I’m going to have an uninterrupted bath now.