The perils of the school trip

The perils of the school trip.
The perils of the school trip.
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THOUGHTS OF A FRUITCAKE: By Carolyn Aldis

So, this week, my youngest daughter has gone away on a residential trip with school. When we first asked her if she wanted to go, she was thrilled at the idea, saying how much fun she would have. So we paid in instalments over the months leading up to the trip and it seemed just as we made the final payment, she changed her mind. She decided that as she wasn’t going to do any activities, there was no point in her going. Now, I don’t want to force my kids to do anything they don’t want to, but it was a considerable amount of money and we didn’t want her to regret her decision. We showed her what the place looked like and what the activities involved, but she was still adamant…she wasn’t going. Then, the next day, she came home all excited, having decided to go. When I asked what had changed her mind, she said that her teacher had encouraged her about going. Sometimes I just have to accept that other people have more influence on my kids than me…

We had half term week to buy copious amounts of warm clothing and everything required for her time away. I thought that choosing a cheap shop would mean a small bill, but the danger when it is cheap is that I buy more…like the trips to Ikea for a £10 table and £100 worth of stuff later, I stagger from the store, hotdog in one hand, loaded trolley in the other, telling my husband “Look at all this stuff…only a quid each!”

My daughter had packed her bag and so this morning, my husband asked if I had checked it. I hadn’t and he suggested as she was otherwise occupied, I could just check it. Past experience has taught us that we must always check when a child has packed a bag…we have learned the hard way that a t-shirt, sunglasses, half a biscuit and a pair of tights for a week in Devon isn’t going to cut it…

She hadn’t done too badly … only a couple of extra things needed which I slipped in. When she asked if her teddy could be sprayed with my perfume, I had a lump in my throat and not just because it cost £50 a bottle...

I always find it hard to let them go. When my eldest daughter went to Jamaica for a week, I can safely say it was the longest week of my life…I had to take life one day at a time and prayed lots and when she came back with tales of security guards with guns and a “boat trip” that consisted of a rubber ring surrounded by sting rays, I was glad I had prayed.

Saying goodbye was fine…she kissed us and went to sit with her friends to eat her lunch, happy and excited. I thought it would be easier with my fourth daughter… my face must have betrayed me because as I left, her teacher leant towards me and said “We will look after her…honest.”

There are many costs to being a parent…