The overseas school trip (aka: pricey package holiday)

I’m back! It’s been a while, mostly due to work taking over my life for a couple of months.

Having just surfaced from full-time officedom, I suddenly find we’re just a week away from Son1’s first overseas school trip. I realise this is a rite of passage all parents must go through – that moment when you release your little fledgling into the big wide world and hope he flies far and wide.

As the Chinese proverb goes, ‘There are two gifts we should give our children: roots and wings.’

But I have to say, as the day approaches, and Son1’s excitement builds, it does feel ever so slightly bittersweet to know we’re about to watch him soar for the first time.

I also feel rather grateful that the trip is to a place we know very well – the UK – and isn’t one of these ultra pricey school jollies I keep hearing about, like the excursion to New York’s Wall Street organised by the economics department at my friend’s son’s school. Or the visit to a Nasa installation in Turkey that the same friend’s daughter went on. Another friend just waved her son off to the jungles of Borneo.

When I was at school, we went on a coach to the seaside at Littlehampton and thought it was really exotic.

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Have fun Son1! I’m going to miss you

How things have changed over the past decades, as schools shift to what educationalists call “learning outside the classroom”, or, to use its natty text-speak acronym, LoTC.

But I digress. As luck would have it, Son1 and his friends will cross the world in safe hands as DH is flying the plane from Dubai to Gatwick. Okay, so this had nothing to do with luck at all. We knew which flight they were going on. DH requested to operate it, and got it.

Which led to this conversation yesterday:

DH: “You could come too, you know.”

Me: “I can’t!”

DH: “Why not?”

Me: “Can you imagine? Both his mum and dad on the flight, like I was stalking him on his first school trip.”

DH: “You wouldn’t actually be sitting with him. It would be fun!”

Me: “Well … yes. But. [thinking: I know mums who’ve followed their kid’s school bus in the car].

A pause while I scratch my chin.

Me: “If I came too, wouldn’t it be taking helicopter parenting to a whole new level?”

DH shrugs: “Think about it. We could go to Brighton.”

I mean, I really shouldn’t. Not on the same flight, on his first school trip. I just couldn’t.

Or could I?

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