I just dropped Mel off at the airport for a school trip. Her choir is going to Chicago. I am not attending for several reasons. This dilemma of attending and not attending school trips started in Kindergarten.
First of all, in Texas and most other states I know of, kids go on school sponsored trips several times a year. As the child gets older, the trips are farther and father away and of course cost more and more money. I miss the $25 bus trip to the local museum. I do not really need more six-hour bus trips. They are not really that exciting from a chaperone standpoint. However the memories are highly valued.
In elementary school, starting in kindergarten, I only attended around half of these events. I was often asked, if I wanted to come along as a chaperone, but many time I declined. I declined as I wanted Mel to practice problem solving without me. Mel was able to cath (use the restroom) on her own; however, the school nurse was the school systems safety net. In my gut, I knew Mel needed to build independence and problem solve her life in safe environments.
It seems, as a parent of a special needs child, I have always pushed Mel to grow as a self advocate.
To push her toward growing up when most kids could still be coddled and protected.
This emotional tug of war is a common thread in the life of this special needs mom.
By middle school, the principal was a little less inclined to send the school nurse on every trip. This did not alter my philosophy of attending only a few trips in each school term. Mel seemed to enjoy the opportunities. My work vacation packages were also getting smaller and thus Mel’s confidence was a blessing.
Sometimes I felt like maybe Mel was missing quality Mom time, other times, I was grateful for her excitement. especially when recalling the trip’s detail once she arrived home.
Well, now Mel is in High School in the great state of Texas. Last year her choir went to Disney and she came and went with the group. All little adult like. This year, Chicago. Little steps toward a future with so many possibilities. And so many unknown struggles.
I have mixed feeling this year. She has gotten so big. She is almost an adult. She was able to show her drivers permit. She was able to handle her bags by herself.
For all parents, letting go is a natural, slow processes. I look back now and can see how the path started way back when she first crawled away on a toddler adventure. Kids change so fast. I recall the fist time she was able to wheel around the corner in a grocery store. I had to stop myself from calling her back – to fast. I look at the pictures and ask, where or where did my sweet toddler go. How, oh how, did she get so big. I have a hard time envisioning that, one day, she will be off. Off to college, off on her own quests. Off using those skills I have wanted so much for her to develop.
In a mom’s eyes kid will always be kids.
Cherished, Pretentious yet Charming
I’m hoping, praying, that before she is all grown up,
I’ll get the chance to tie that shoe, brush that hair and see those teenage eyes roll just few more times.
See you soon Mel, Have A Great Time
I can’t wait to hear the Details.