It's that time of year again. The family holiday is over and the family nest has been once more briefly vacated by my energetic teen, who's away - hopefully - enjoying this year's scout camp.
So, once more all is quiet on this Western Front and all, so far, is well. There was no fuss, no panic as we sent him on his way this year - me being such an old hand at this lark by now. Well, it is his third time to spend over a week away from home after all. We're getting used to it.
He has willingly swapped the comforts of home and his 'customised' bedroom for a world of camping outdoors, with long forest hikes, backwood fires and camp-fire songs. A world where he'll eat what he's given (or starve), helps with meal preparations and clean-ups, gets his own drinks/snacks, keeps his own space tidy and quickly learns that the bellowing of 'Muumm....where's my/can I have.....' doesn't really work. Where there are tons of activities like: falconry, horse-riding and the every much liked rifle-shooting and archery, just for example, to fill their days. They can even go zip-wiring or walking through the treetops..... although personally I would prefer the latter to the former!
Sooo glad I wasn't there to see what happens next! (both photos cropped to reveal only himself)
So what of me while my teen is off gallivanting through forests and activities?
Well, I've swapped a world of teen-minding - which in fairness is more about encouraging outdoor activities than anything else - for a very, very quiet world indeed. This my third endless day filled with.... well.... whatever I feel like doing if I'm honest. I do plan on accomplishing some jobs while he's away. Yet here I am
I'm getting used to the quiet if I'm honest and, although it may not win me a 'Mother of the Year' prize anytime soon, I must admit that I kind of like it!
Sometimes. It's easy to like what you know is thankfully only temporary. It is a little lonely too and I constantly find myself wondering what he's doing. Facebook photo updates on the closed scout group page keep me informed, and very happy.
I thought of him as the sky began to darken last night. What are they doing now? Sat in their tents? How long a night that would be, every night, I thought to myself? Then my question was answered this morning with a lovely video uploaded of them singing - very loudly - around an open camp-fire! Such fun! I'm sure there will also be night-hikes and a spot of bivouacking for the very brave too!
I thought of him again this morning as the rain was falling outside. Their week is going to end with a lot of rain, especially this Thursday and Friday. What on earth will they do then, asks the mammy in me? They're scouts and as such they're well prepared! Sure isn't that why they brought their wet-gear, and the mountains of clean socks/underwear? How lovely to go traipsing through the forest with the rain dripping through the verdant leaves.... or sitting in tents listening to the tympanic sounds of the raindrops hitting the canvas. It's all part of the scout camp experience.
Soon enough the week will be over and our scouting teen will return home with happy thoughts and memories, a rucksack to be emptied directly into the washing machine, himself to be flung into the longest shower - ever - and hopefully.... possibly... some of those 'helpful' skills listed above? I can but hope....
This is a week that prepares us parents for when the nest empties more permanently which, when I think about it, may not be a million years away. And it's a week that gives our teenager some skills to help him depart it.
At least that's how I like to think of it.