Kevin’s Big Adventure


It was about a year ago that we, the parents of then-soon-to-be eighth graders, were summoned to an informational meeting at school about the eighth grade trip to Washington D.C.  It seemed like the trip was forever and a day away.  Well, forever and a day went by in a flash (during which Kevin managed to earn more than $500 towards the cost of the trip through tutoring, babysitting, and lemonade stands), and yesterday evening we dropped him off at school where the participating eighth graders (now soon-to-be high school freshmen) would board a charter bus that would take them to the airport for a red-eye flight to the other side of the country.

The red satin jacket was required for the kids on tour; this is not a fashion statement Kevin would normally be caught dead making!

I am probably overly protective; I know this about myself.  It is difficult to strike a balance between trying to stand between my kids and harm’s way, and allowing them to spread their wings enough to make them well-rounded, resilient people.  There was a time when I would not have fathomed to the idea of sending my kid three thousand miles away without me or Michael.  But there comes a time when you realize that it’s time to start letting go a smidge.

Kevin is not one for big, emotional send-offs, so I restrained myself, gave him a hug, and waited until I turned away to let the tears fall.  We left him there with his friends, and saw the charter bus coming up the street as we pulled away.  Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, Michael whispered to me that their flight had landed safely on the east coast; he got up in the middle of the night to check online.

A whole week he’ll be gone.  He’s going to see a thousand things and experience things even I have not seen or experienced.  I know he’ll come back a little older, a little more worldly.  I’m really excited for him, but the house seems a little quiet and a little empty with him gone.

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5 Comments on “Kevin’s Big Adventure”

  1. Alyson
    June 5, 2011 at 11:59 pm #

    Oh wow!! Such a big step for overprotective mamas like us:) I am sure it will be a life long amazing memory for Kevin.

  2. Tricia
    June 6, 2011 at 12:56 am #

    Very exciting! But, for some reason this post made me tear up. I have a 6th grader who will someday be in 8th grade and have the same opportunity. I am worried. Should I start saving now so I can go with him? Should I send my husband? I don’t know. I have some time to think about it, but I can empathize with you about your emotions through the whole thing. I have never been D.C. I guess we all go through this as parents as some point. I look forward to your follow up post about the trip for your son.

    • Lisa
      June 6, 2011 at 1:27 am #

      Tricia, I don’t know where you are or how much your son’s trip will cost, but ours cost a total of roughly $2,500, so that’s something to think about. I was ready to send my husband with Kevin, until we realized that would double the cost, and it was already going to take some doing to come up with funds to pay for Kevin. In the end, I’m glad we let Kevin go by himself. I really think this is going to be a wonderful learning, growing opportunity for him – a venture out into the world to experience things through his own eyes, and not through the prism of his parents.

      • Tricia
        June 8, 2011 at 4:02 am #

        2,500 dollars! Reality check. My son may be going alone. Maybe that is a good thing and I am over protective.

  3. Julie
    June 6, 2011 at 8:17 am #

    Our two older girls went on a D.C. trip this spring, too. They had to come up with a large chunk of the money (babysitting, making and selling recycled juice pouch totes and duct tape wallets, birthday checks) and they had a blast. I would have loved to go, but it wasn’t in the budget and I didn’t have the days off. They didn’t room together so they had some ‘apart’ time but they also had each other if they needed it. The trip was a good thing and the girls definitely grew up a little while gone.

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