The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

An emptier house

There’s a particular cold, pre-dawn, early morning smell to the world outside that is flavoured by lack of sleep from excitement and nervousness. It’s a smell that taps into the experience of every holiday, every school trip and every journey that required a bag to be packed the night before. Only this time I’m not going anywhere.

My eleven-year-old son, Rogan, on the other hand, set off on a school skiing trip to the French Alps this morning. It’s the first time he’s ever stayed away from us for more than 2 nights, and in a couple of hours it will be the first time he’s ever been on a plane.

By saving birthday and pocket money, going without various treats and mugging everyone for the coppers in their pockets, he has actually managed to contribute a third of the cost of this trip himself. We’re very proud of him.

Standing in the car park with other anxious parents, I managed to force a reluctant hug out of him before handing his bag to the driver to stow in the base of the coach while he climbed on board to sit next to his best mate.

Despite his fears during the rush this morning, we weren’t the last ones to arrive at the pick-up point; there was one more to come who turned up ten minutes later. Some of the parents had been standing in the cold for at least half an hour, periodically waving at their kid and wishing they’d put an extra layer on.

When the coach finally pulled away there was a collective sigh of relief followed by a mad dash to the cars, as everyone was desperate to get back home to warmth and breakfast.

It’s going to be extremely quiet without the lad in the house for a week.


Dr Maroon said...

Cor Kim, remember when we were 11? French Alps? Skiing? If we were lucky, the geography teacher would show us slides of such exotica. You'll have to spoil Megan because she'll miss her brother, but you don't need me to tell you that.

You've cheered me up with this return to normality.

Bigger Hugs said...

((HUGS)) to you Kim

savannah said...

can't remember how i found you..but i am so glad i did...anyway, the first trip always is always the most difficult...ok, having your children leave/say bye is never easy...and mine are all grownup now!

Eryl Shields said...

I remember when our son, Bob, went away for the first time. He was five and going to Arran with his grandparents. We lived in the centre of Glasgow and thought 'hurrah, we'll be able to go out and get pissed every night!' But what actually happened was we sat in the flat in silence as though we were in mourning. Now he's grown and gone and I still get that feeling sometimes.

Hope Rogan has a fab time and comes back with all his limbs intact.

Kate said...

I echo Dr Maroon's sentiments. The best we got at 11 was a day trip to Warwick Castle which was 5 minutes walk away. Bah! Kids today, don't know their born.

Don't worry, Rogan will be fine (I felt the same each time one of my lot went off for the first time, but they came back in one piece wondering why on earth I was making such a fuss) you, on the other hand, are now out-numbered by girlies LOL

Kate said...

ps: That should be they're, not their [blush]

Kim Ayres said...

Dr Maroon - I went skiing in high school, but nothing like that in primary. Yes Meg is missing him already. Just for your own records, Meg doesn't have the "an" at the end of her name. Only Rogan does in this family, but it's a common enough mistake and I don't hold it against you.

Bigger Hugs - I never say no to a hug, so thank you. Have a ((HUG)) in return, and welcome to my ramblings.

Savannah - welcome to my ramblings too :) For his own sake, this is a great thing for him - a further step growing up and finding independence, but it's sad for us for the very same reason.

Eryl - Limbs intact? Damn. I knew there was something I forgot to tell him!

Kate - When I was 11 I did do a school trip to Pendine Sands where there were 4 big dormitories and 2 other schools were there at the same time. We learnt about tides, rockpools, seaweed and the like. But because it was only 9 miles down the road, it didn't feel like such a big thing.

And don't worry about spelling & grammar on this site. As long as I get the general gist of what you're saying I'll be happy enough :)

Andraste said...

You know, he'll never admit it, but by the end of the week he'll be homesick. And he may seem taller to you when he gets back. Don't ask me how I know - I don't even have kids... Enjoy the quality time with the Maggie and Meg, and try not to worry about Rogan too much!

Andraste said...

Not THE Maggie, though. Jaysis.

quinn said...

awwwww you will miss him terribly but it will be a wonderful time for him. That is so awesome that he was able to save so much money and contribute to the trip...even that will make him appreciate it all the more.

I remember the first and only time we sent my boys off to a summer camp for 2 weeks. It was sooooooo hard I missed them so much and they had EACHOTHER.

The neat thing is it also gives them a chance to be without us and they realize that they do miss us too. They just get a different perspective on what they do have when you aren't there.

But for those at home.. the empty chair at the dinner table can pretty much bring you to tears if you are anything like me. The house will deffinately feel as though an important piece is missing.

But all will be well soon and when he gets home and settles in again he will have many stories to share of his travels. enjoy!!!!!!!!!!

savannah said...

so off topic, but thank you sooo much for pointing me in the right direction...i did it! *beaming*

Sayre said...

I can't wait/am dreading the time when Z-boy goes off on his own adventure and leaves his father and me home alone...

Mary Witzl said...

Oh God, you poor guy -- and yet part of me envies you in equal measure, as we have just had a sleepover here with five teenage girls who were up until 4:00 a.m. I hope your boy comes home after having a wonderful time, with memories that will last him throughout the years.

Good for you, also, having a kid that can save his money so well. You are doing something right if you have managed to get him to do this. We've got one kid who spends it as soon as she earns it, and another who loses it as soon as she manages to get her hands on some, and no amount of whining, nagging or sweet reason seems to be able to change things. But we do ask them to contribute to special treats like this too; they complain about it now, but I know that someday they'll be better off than those lucky kids whose parents were dumb enough to give them bucketfuls of spending money for the asking.

Kim Ayres said...

Andraste - He'll have had his first day out on the slopes by now, trying to figure out how to stay upright on ski. Definitely quieter around here.

Quinn - The fact that he contributed a couple of hundred pounds was worth far more than the money in terms of understanding the concept of saving towards something.

Savannah - excellent news :)

Sayre - it's a real mixed feeling, rather like Eryl mentioned above

Mary - The idea of sleep-overs terrifies me. I don't envy you one bit.

I think we've been a bit lucky with Rogan over money so far, but we live in a buy now pay later world and I don't know how long it will be before the rest of society influences him too much

Dr Maroon said...

Jesus Kim, I can't believe it.
Please excuse my gaucheness [sp].
My only excuse, is that I may have been trying to avoid familiarity (I'm Scotch) and assumed you'd maybe shortened her name.

On the subject of school trips, we went down the Tay in canoes in October when the river was in spate. It confirmed a pathological fear of white water in me. I screamed like a girl until I was hoarse.

PI said...

My eldest was slightly older on his first skiing trip and we had been going through a typical teen age trauma time. As soon as he had gone - after being a fierce Mum for weeks I felt I must write and tell him how much I loved him. He never got the letter, but seemed to reaiise the love was there. This was the holiday when he discovered alcohol. But that's another story!

Kim Ayres said...

Dr Maroon - No, it' just Meg - short and sweet, just like her father

Pat - There's always another story from you :)

restaurant gal said...

I hate to say goodbye to my kids when they leave for another term at school. Then, after what seems like a minute, my husband and I look at them as they haul bags of laundry and assorted friends through the front door, and we ask, "What, home again so soon?"

Kim Ayres said...

I'm looking forward to the day that Maggie and I finally have our lives back to ourselves, but I've been caught off guard by just how much I've missed my son this weekend

Shebah said...

Kim, I commented on your next post before reading this one - and of course I realise what is happening with Maggie. She will not feel relaxed for a second until her little boy is back home, safe and well and under her care again!

BStrong said...

I don't ever remember my school offering a trip like that to me at 11 years of age.

Sorry, but at that age my friends and I got into a lot of trouble when we were away from our parents. You'll know only what he wants you to know. The good stuff will come out when the time is right to laugh at it all.

Kim Ayres said...

Shebah - thanks

BStrong - I'm hoping that won't happen until he's at least 13

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