7th grade: School Trip: High ropes course-Propelling off mountains
Mothers worry. I ’m sure that won’t be news to anyone. Dads worry too. In fact, dearly departed Joe was, in many cases, a bigger worrywart than I was.
As many of you know, my kid is on a one-week trip to Hermit Island in Maine with his 12th grade class. They are camping alongside the Atlantic Ocean and will experience marine biology firsthand. And I’ll tell you a secret: I’ve never been a fan of taking the kids on trips that include water. When Cole was in 8th grade and his class trip included whitewater rafting, I had a very hard time signing the release. However, I did not share my concerns with Cole or the other parents, but I did quietly find out more information about the rafting company and the level of the rapids they would be experiencing, then unclenched my fist and signed the release. Cole had a wonderful time. Likewise, before the Maine trip, when I learned the trip would include swimming in the Atlantic, whirlpools and being on an island, my heart rate soared. Once again, I Googled the island. I learned that in past years, classes had been well cared for in all weather, including during a hurricane, and suffered nothing more than sunburn and poison ivy. I signed the release and have been completely relaxed about the trip…until this afternoon, when an e-mail from another mother in our class arrived in my inbox.
The e-mail informed us that severe weather was expected on Hermit Island and our kids might experience large hail and severe thunderstorms. Link included. She then wondered about an evacuation plan and alternate lodging. She also provided a weather link, which I had no intention of clicking on since I had been avoiding checking the weather. She knew, of course, that we could not reach the advisors or the kids because the island does not have cell service. WTF did she hope to accomplish other than worrying other parents, dadgumit?!
I get it. When we’re worried, it is natural to reach out to a friend or fellow parent. If this mom had called me, I would have tried my best to reassure her. However, throwing a loaded weather report, link included, out via e-mail suggesting our kids may not be safe made me angry. It wasn’t a request for reassurance; it was demand that we all worry along with her. I responded to the e-mail with humor, suggesting that our kids would more than likely love the adventure. I stopped short of typing, Don’t worry, be happy.
Did she worry me? Yes. And then I took a deep breath and told myself I had a choice: I could focus on large hail and severe thunderstorms, or on our kids huddled together safe and sound in their tents, a little wet, a little cold, maybe even a little scared, but enjoying their adventure in the moment and looking forward to coming home to whine about it on Saturday.
We all worry; it’s how we handle it that counts. As I go to sleep tonight, I’ll be counting all the great experiences these trips have allowed my kid to have over the years. Really!!