I am less one child this week as my son left this morning on his fifth grade trip to Mackinac Island near the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I see this as a mixed blessing.
On one hand, I think the break will be good for both of us as he has been testing my patience lately. I decided during the last marking period to give him a little leeway instead of hovering over his schoolwork and constantly checking his grades. He will be going into middle school in the fall, and since no teachers will be accepting late assignments or allowing him to make up a low grade on a paper, I felt he needed a taste of the real world to come.
This resulted in a D in math. Apparently he did not bother to turn in two assignments, which dropped his grade significantly. This not only resulted in him missing the honor roll for the first time in 18 months, but he also lost his XBox 360 and has the threat of summer school hanging over his head if the grade is not brought up in this last marking period.
On top of the grade fiasco, he has basically been dismantling the house piece by piece in the last two weeks. He broke a glass while haphazardly loading the dishwasher. He broke a door on one of the kitchen cabinets roughhousing with his dad. He broke the leg on our game table. He yanked a towel bar off the back of the bathroom door. Of course, all of this has been "by accident." Also, someone broke the portable heater in my office. No one will admit to doing it, but I think I can name the culprit in one guess.
In my currently unemployed state, these damages are more than just a nuisance. But at least he was putting dishes in the dishwasher and actually hanging up towels! That is generally more than I can get his father to do.
But he is, after all, my baby. And his absence leaves a little bit of emptiness in the house. It is a lot quieter without all that boy energy in the air.
I also worry about how he is doing. Not that I am all that concerned about safety. He is being chaperoned by a very trustworthy father of one of his classmates. I worry more that I am not there to remind him of the little things I monitor each day, such as brushing teeth, combing hair and putting on deodorant. Hopefully, this father is not in charge of three 11-year-old boys who neglect to apply deodorant every day.
Fortunately, this absence will be a short one. He will be back on Thursday evening full of tales of the experiences he just had. And life will return to its normal state of organized chaos.
So I just have to remind myself when the quiet gets too overbearing that this situation is temporary. The silence will soon be replaced by the sounds of a loud pre-teen voice, running feet, and my daughter complaining about how annoying her brother can be. Not to mention the sound of glass breaking as footballs are lobbed throughout the house "by accident."