Sunday, April 25, 2010

Outdoor Ed

A couple of weeks ago Connor went on his 6th grade "Outdoor Ed" trip. It was a 2 1/2 day trip to the mountains, with his classmates. I really hadn't thought much about it in previous days. We went over the list of what he'd need, hiking boots, warm clothes..etc. We purchased a few items we didn't have, everything was on track. I've been a little preoccupied and hadn't really thought about how I "felt" about him going. He was looking forward to it but was cautiously excited. I think he wasn't quite sure what to expect. The good news was he was going to Estes Park which is one of his favorite places and he's been there many times. I drove him to the school that morning with a large duffel bag, a backpack and a sack lunch. As we were driving he mentioned that his stomach didn't feel so good. I'm sure it was a little bit of anxiety. I didn't tell him but I was having some butterflies myself. Suddenly it hit me that I'm sending him off away from home for the first time ever. I'm leaving him in the hands of basically strangers. I got butterflies and horrifyingly enough, felt like I was going to cry. I knew he would think I was crazy if he saw tears in my eyes so I told myself to "get it together, you are being so silly!"

Anyway I dropped him off with a sea of other 12 yr olds and drove away. Intermittently over the next couple of days I would say things like "I wonder if Con is ok?" or "I wonder what Connor's doing.". I kept looking at the clock. Mark would just say "He's fine, stop worrying." When it was time for him to come home I drove to the place the buses were dropping them off. I was so excited... and a little early :-)

Well the buses finally came and I was eagerly waiting as the kids started filing off the first bus. Some of them looked pretty tired and sunburned. I wondered to myself how Connor had fared. I waited until the last one came off the bus and Connor wasn't one of them. I then moved down as the second bus pulled up and kids started unloading, again no Connor. Finally the third bus, I'm watching each one get off and reunite with their families, still no Connor. Then suddenly there he was, right in front of me with all his gear. He said "Hey Mom What's up?" and turned to walk to the car. He actually looked really good, not quite as haggard as some of the others. So we walked to the car and headed for home. As we were walking I thought to myself how our kids have no idea the emotions we go through as they are learning to spread their wings. Not only is it a learning experience for them, preparing them to grow up and be independent. It is a learning process for me as a mom learning to let go a little at a time for some day they will fly away. And that's the way it's supposed to be. I was still so happy to have him home, back in my little nest for now anyway, I felt complete again.

Right before I dropped him off I snapped this quick picture from the front seat of the car.

One of Connor's friends took this picture

A shelter Connor and his group made


Paige said...

What a great experience for everyone involved.

I really enjoyed reading this, I could sense all the emotions you were experiencing, and could relate to them at you described the scenario. Thanks for sharing.

Lindsay said...

oo what a great trip! I think I would have cried the whole way home! Glad he had such a great trip!

The Bailey Family said...

Oh wow...I really can't imagine how you must have felt. It was pretty overwhelming just reading it. You and Mark have raised two excellent boys -so proud to call them my nephews-!

The pictures are really good!

Jenny said...

Oh what a wonderful experience. Darn...don't they just grow up too quickly! You have a wonderful family!