Updated: Mar 30, 2021
Over the past few days I have been riding an emotional school bus. Feeling all the feels as I have been preparing my big girl (Miss 14 and three quarters) for a 10 day school camp. T E N whole days! And my swelling mumma heart is very grateful that we are only experiencing the shortened by seven days COVID version!
So let me set the stage for the journey she set off on this morning. One of 58 girls who boarded a bus to head three and half hours North-West’ish (geography I can happily admit is not my strong suit) to her temporary home. The camp blog (which I have scoured every photo to catch a glimpse of my baby … an arm, her hair, whatever I can get) tells me they shared lunch with the boys from their grade, who then tagged out with some helpful tips on camp-life, before boarding the bus home.
We are told that over the next week and a half, our girls are set to milk cows (and then pasteurise the milk!), care for and ride horses, do her share of the chores, ropes courses, teamwork exercises, hiking, camping out and rounding out with a solo sleep out experience. No doubt lots of laughs, a few tiffs and a whole lot of resilience and memory building with her peers.
I have talked through with her the likely change in dynamics the group will experience without the boys, and with each girl completely outside of their comfort zones. As well as, the possible impact of tired and emotional girls who do not get the usual break from each other. Eeeepp … can you imagine? (Do you think I should have bought the chaperone teachers alcohol?) But also the potential for different friendships to emerge, the developing of new skills … and maybe, just maybe, an increased appreciation for all that they have at home.
So after I had recovered from selling my kidney to fund the purchases for the extensive packing list… my attention shifted to the emotions going on inside me. Do not get me wrong, I am excited for her to go and have this experience, but there is a little part of me that has started preparing for my redundancy. Yes, I know that she will always need her mum but as she spreads her wings and continues to have more experiences without me… it sets the tone for a change to my role of being her mum (well as I have known it anyway).
The odd tear which escaped before and after she left (but definitely not during the goodbyes, because that would be so embarrassing mum!)… signalled to me a little grief that I am entering a new phase of parenting. One which I am not sure I am completely ready for, and yet I know there is no holding off.
Can I just say that I think I probably need to offer up some apologies right about now. Because as I cast my mind back to when I was holding her as a teeny tiny baby in my arms, living those endless nights of crying and feeding dramas that had a groundhog day-esque feel to them … I can also vaguely recall all those experienced mothers giving me a knowing look and telling me she would be grown before I knew it. And well yep, here we are. Growing up, with no sign of it slowing any time soon. Sorry ladies … you were right. As my penance I hereby declare that I shall take my place in the “been there, done that mum’s club” and pass that message onto those frazzled looking new mums.
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So now we speed forward a few weeks… I (I mean we) have survived the camp experience. Whilst mine included a warm home, comfortable bed, wifi and non-rationed meals I will admit to experiencing some periods of torture when the blog was not updated regularly enough for this Mumma bear. Now she has returned, I can tell you that her experience was a little more physically (and perhaps psychologically) challenging than mine. But she did it. And I am absolutely bursting with pride.
The tears in both our eyes as we were reunited may have confirmed to me that I am still relevant and not yet redundant. But I know, that as it has for the past almost 15 years, that my role as a mum is evolving and ever-changing. Whilst it can be hard in stepping back and allowing them greater independence, that I must remember that I do not have to crawl sleep deprived out of bed in the morning and change stinky nappies … just wash the dirty camp clothes. Who was I kidding? There will always be some type of role for me to play. Some just not quite as glamorous as others.
Who was I kidding? There will always be some type of role for me to play. Some just not quite as glamorous as others.
Danielle, when not writing, can be found wrangling her league of two girl superheroes-in-training, a Goldendoodle prone to separation anxiety, and helping to save the world one client at a time as a Rehabilitation Counsellor.
Following years of living a ‘tick the boxes’ life, the rug was pulled out from under her when her marriage broke down. What ensued can quite simply only be described as a series of “this wasn’t in the brochure” moments.
So as she continues of her own journey of self-discovery, she has decided to take matters into her own hands and write a new style of brochure for all the others out there. One that is kind of a guide to life, love and parenting which is not sugar-coated.
Her aim is to help other parents by providing a real and raw approach to navigating this crazy, messy thing called life.
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