It should be easier this week with one less child to think about, right? Judging by this morning's antics I'm not holding out too much hope. The younger 3 children were particularly troublesome little tikes during the tricky early morning rush. No 1 was unusually angelic. He carried his own suitcase downstairs, brushed his hair and teeth unprompted, checked his list to make sure he had everything, and helped scurry the other children out of the door for the school run (this NEVER normally happens).
No 1 has been feeling excited but nervous anticipating this trip. He's been away from home before for several days, but only to relatives. This trip is something new. After school drop off we picked up two friends and set off. Cool chat ensued; there was no betrayal of nerves from anyone. I offered a few comments to join in the chat. Not a good idea - my attempts were met with slightly awkward silences followed by very polite responses. They are lovely boys but the message was clear: this is OUR chat, you are a PARENT and thus ANCIENT and NOT COOL! So not wanting to cramp their style any further I kept quiet and performed my taxi driving duties.
As we neared our destination (I quote the sat nav lady) the boys drew quiet. They clambered out of the car and gathered their bags and suitcases, and commenced the long hike up the hill to the centre with much bravado. "No, it's fine, I can manage!" I was assured whilst watching them struggle with bags weighed down with contraband sweets.
At the top of the hill we hung around chatting, waiting for everyone to arrive. Parents huddled together, the boys stood in a gang goofing around, the girls talked animatedly. Time to say goodbye and suddenly coolness evaporated and I was allowed to be Mum again. Huge unsolicited hug from No 1 - aaaaahhhhh! And another one! Double aaaahhhhhhh!
We parents walked without our children down the hill. I did what you're definitely not supposed to do and looked back (lots). Each time No 1 was still watching and waved extravagantly, and kept moving to where he could see me better. All the tricky troubles of recent weeks (which I'll save for future posts) were forgotten. But I know my biggest boy won't miss me; he won't have time. And if he does feel the need to read the note I wrote him (in case of any homesickness) I've reminded him that all he has to do is imagine me singing Always Look on the Bright Side badly whilst wearing a Kate Middleton mask. That should enable him to hold on until Friday. In the meantime the other children will keep me busy and I'll prepare my washing machine for the big smelly black sack of washing that will return with No 1. Can't wait!