For her first school trip Freya went to…Tesco.
That’s right, the supermarket.
Apparently it was The Best Day Ever.
They got to go through doors you’re not normally allowed to enter, wear paper hats, bake bread and learn about all sorts of food.
It sounds amazing… and not at all like the exact same place we’ve visited almost every week of her life.
I’ll admit I was a little bit jittery about her going but it was just for a couple of hours, she’d been there before and it was only down the road.
I still drilled her full name and address with her a few
hundred dozen times and gently talked about stranger danger but all in all I was pretty chilled…well, compared with her latest excursion anyway.
This time they were going to a forest.
A forest 45 minutes away.
In a minibus without car seats.
Along a very busy dual carriageway.
Yes, it sounded like a really fun and educational trip but there was a huge part of me that simply didn’t want to let her go.
“Imagine how I felt each time you announced you were jetting off somewhere remote and possibly dangerous,” was my mum’s input.
It was for work, mostly.
And I was in my 20s and 30s at the time, not FOUR.
But, yes, I can appreciate, now, how it might have been a little worrying for her. Sorry mum.
My dad was more sympathetic.
“I bet you feel like following along behind her,” he said. He was joking, of course, but his laugh sounded a little nervous when met with my silence as I imagined myself dressed head to toe in black (not sure why as it would be daylight), following behind in the car and then hiding behind trees to make sure she didn’t wander off.
When I discussed it with some of the other mums it seemed like we might get a convoy going.
In the end I did manage to leave her in the classroom on the day of the trip with a cheery “have fun” – even though all of my motherly instincts were urging me to pick her up, run all the way home, wrap her in a blanket and snuggle her all day.
I walked home, via the shop for chocolate, very slowly in the hope that I would see her getting on the bus through the fence. I *might* have imagined seeing the bus pull out and then jumping on and clinging to the back door.
It’s not that I don’t trust her teachers to take care of her. They are brilliant and very experienced, I knew they would look after her. Freya is also used to being outside and exploring without any drama. I’m not sure whether it’s being a former news reporter or just an anxious mum but all sorts of horrible scenarios were going through my head. All day.
Thankfully all was well. Freya said the trip was brilliant and talked about seeing aliens on roller blades (?!). I’m not sure they were supposed to be there but as long as she’s happy.
I know I’m going to have to get better at this; at letting go of the reins a bit more. Although, if my mum is anything to go by, maybe you never get better at it? I want her to be independent and eventually to go off and explore the world. If she wants to. When she’s 30. But it doesn’t seem that long ago that I was pureeing her food and changing her nappy.
Any tips for making school trips easier (for me)? Maybe don’t read the news any more? Pretend to be four and go with her?