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.