Monday, August 19, 2013

Time for camp - and a mother's worries

I put the Man Child on a bus to camp this morning.
I held it together until I saw his little face getting smaller as the bus drove away from me.
"Mum, I knew you were going to cry," Harmonie giggled, putting her hand in mine as we walked back to the car.
My emotions are famous at Chez MIA.
I've been known to cry at television commercials. I teared up when Chase recently got a new shirt and pants from a men's clothing store, and I realised, with a shock, how grown up he was becoming. I emptied a tissue box when Patrick from Offspring died. So the kids were pretty sure my eyes would leak when Chase went off to camp.
It's not that going to camp is new.
Lucky Mr 12 has been to a few camps in his time, but this will be the longest he's been away - and the furtherest trip, five hours with a stop for lunch.
We've spent a fortune buying all the things he needed - rashies, boardies, pyjamas, wet shoes, new thongs, labelled versions of the medication he's on, and even a tie for 'etiquette night'. Bags have been packed, and sleeps counted down.
I know he'll have an awesome time - he loves the water, and most of the activities will be based around the sea and the creek.
But he gets motion sick, and I worry he'll be sick on the bus. He has trouble sleeping and I'm concerned he won't get enough sleep in a dorm with six other kids.
He can be a picky eater, and what if he doesn't get enough to eat? Has an allergic reaction? Forgets to drink enough water? Or to reapply sunscreen?
I know, I'm such a worrier! Do other parents do this or is it just me?
And I always get emotional at milestones like these, because I feel a niggling sense of unrest, that I am doing this on my own.
I never signed up to be a single parent.
I'm not the only solo parent at school by any means, but, as I saw couples farewelling their children, I certainly felt a sense of loss that I was seeing my child off on my own. That Chase didn't have his mother and his father with him to experience this moment with him. Was he missing out?
It's been 3 1/2 years since my marriage to the childrens' father broke up, but it's still hard to get used to the idea that I'm a solo parent.
We are certainly a solid, happy family unit with rich lives full of love. But it's moments like these that I worry that I've failed them.
And then I wonder if that's just my expectations. And that the kids aren't bothered at all.
Certainly, leaving the house this morning, Chase seemed happy enough.
"Don't worry Mum, I'll be back in a week," he said. "You probably won't even notice I'm gone."
Oh I'll notice, son. I'll notice.
And yes, I will probably worry.
I'm a mother. It comes with the job.
Doesn't it?

 A billion and one things were needed for camp ...

A last cuddle before boarding the bus. 


vegemitevix said...

It absolutely comes with the job description. It's so very hard being on your own and most of the time you don't notice, you just do it. Then one day a milestone comes along and you feel that reoccurring sadness. I understand that. I feel like that when I think that my kids will leave home and never come back to 'the family home' because we just don't have one anymore. It hurts. It sucks. You didn't do anything wrong for it to be that way, it just is. Hang in there and remember there are people like me around who think you're doing a great job and believe you'll get there. Vx

Char said...

There's no shame in missing your children. The shame would be if your were happy that they were gone. And there's absolutely nothing abnormal about worrying that they'll be okay once they're out of your sight. That was programmed into every mother when they got pregnant. I still worry about my grown up kids when they're not around. One's heading off to Taiwan and Korea in a couple of weeks and will be gone for a month and I'll be doing exactly what you're doing now - wondering if he's okay, eating enough and wearing clean underwear.

Unknown said...

Bless you Vix and Char! I do think it's a mother thing, a bond you develop when they are growing inside you. And clean underwear? We actually bought new ones for camp! Goodness knows how I will cope when they go overseas on their own!

Not Quite Nigella said...

Aww Bronnie, it must be such a bittersweet time for you! And is Chase standing on something? He's as tall as a tree! :O

Janet Camilleri said...

I reckon you'd feel their absence even more as a single parent. Bet he's having a fabbo time though! xxx