Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Partially Empty Nest

Thing 1 was away last week, as her Grade 8 class went to Montreal for their end of the year trip for 4 days. I think that it was the longest she has been away from home by herself, and, as I expected, she did just fine. The kids had a spectacular time; and why wouldn't they? Montreal is one fun city. A little too fun, actually; I've heard of people who went to Montreal for a weekend and ended up losing a whole summer, all because you can buy beer in corner stores.

My Grade 8 trip was to see a play in Stratford, which was all in "Shakespearean", and completely over our heads. But it was still better than The Tattooed One, who's Grade 8 trip was to the Pollution Treatment plant here in town. Totally wins for the "Worst End Of The Year Field Trip Ever".

The teachers, who have my undying respect and gratitude for taking on such an endeavour, said they had a great time. And I didn't get the feeling they were being sarcastic, either. When the trip was first proposed, I asked the principal if they wanted parent volunteers, and he said they'd prefer to have teachers, thanks very much. And thank God, too, because I would go if they needed me, but four days with hormonally challenged teenagers, even if they are very nice, would probably be more than I could handle without pharmecutical intervention. Can you imagine that eight hour bus ride? (I think it would be very different than when Big Liver Girl and I went to Quebec last year; we barely noticed those eight hours, since we talked non-stop and sang along to Dave Matthews the whole time, and there was nobody to interrupt us, and stopped whenever the whim took us. I think we could have happily turned around and gone right back home, that car trip was so much fun.)

I've been to Montreal dozens of times, and I've never done half of what they accomplished. They went to the Biodome, (which used to be the velodome for the 76 Olympics,) and a Space Camp, and Old Montreal (which is one of my favorite places in the whole wide world) and some art galleries (which they all hated) and Notre Dame Basillica which they loved, but were most impressed with the fact that it was where Celine Dion got married. They got to do some shopping, and went to a traditional French Canadian cabaret, and, from what I can see on Facebook, took about 3 million pictures.

I was a little apprehensive with Thing 1 going away; she's been known to suffer pangs of homesickness, which I can totally sympathize with, because I was driven home from many a slumber party at 2 a.m. myself. (And that was just last year.) But she's gotten much better with dealing with that in the past few years, and seemed to handle herself just fine. (One of the things that I have discovered about being a parent is that you tend to fret over things that have long resolved themselves. Like, you didn't notice that they can use a bathroom/order off the menu/walk down the street entirely without your help, and have been doing so for years. I now realize why my mother tells me to "drive carefully" every. single. time. I leave her house.) Thing 1 was a little barfy a couple of nights before she went away, but I was still in Calgary, and of no help whatsoever. (Which was fine by me.)

While she was away, we took Thing 2 out for Indian food, which she loves and her sister despises. (Thing 2 has been known to go over to a friend's house when we have a curry.) Thing 2 had her parents and grandparents all to herself for 4 days, and couldn't have been happier. She remarked, dreamily and with longing, that "this must be what it's like to be an only child".

With me back from Calgary, and her back from Montreal, it is very nice to have all my chicks in the nest again. But I know it's just for now.

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