OK, so not having Ben at home for 12 days was incredibly stressful. I only realised how much when I had him back in my arms after he got off the bus from Sydney this morning. I had to bite back tears and I am not usually very emotional in public.
I manage my anxiety by controlling as much as I can in my environment and not being able to control my child or his environment for 12 days straight played havoc with my nerves.
I woke up every day with a massive headache, especially just after he left, which would often last all day, sometimes dissipating by bed time. While I normally suffer from headaches anyway, these were particularly bad, verging on migrainous.
I found it very hard to focus on anything much, so Sam and I spend our days with our devices, Netflix and the occasional venture out for errands. He managed to have a few play dates, but we didn’t get to the pool, or go on a bike ride, as I hoped we would.
In the car home, Ben told me that thanks to Sydney weather in the first week, he got hypothermia during one of the activities and had to be warmed up in the First Aid shelter. Thank god no-one told me about it, or I would have totally been in the car going to get him. Maybe.
Never mind. Both my children are under my roof again and I know exactly what each is doing at any given time. I know where they are, I know what and if they’re eating, I know that they’re having baths and have clean clothes to wear.
Of course, overall, he had a ball. I heard tales of the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, Manly and the ferries, fireworks, Comedy Night and Market Day. He even bought me a present – a tie dye scarf from one of the other Troops. It was great to see photos of him on Facebook taken by the leaders and shared on our Troop’s page.
A friend with three boys who have all been through Scouts and for whom it was the third Jamboree, told me that they come back different. A little more independent and a lot more appreciative of the comforts of home. Already, Ben has been extolling the virtues of his own bed and, of course, he got online as soon as he walked in the door.
I hope that as he gets older, more independent and reliable, I will find being away from him easier. Because eventually, I do want him to leave home and I can’t imagine living with these kinds of stress levels in the long term.
In 5 days he turns 13, properly a teenager. He came home with three ready made pimples to prove the point. We will enter the big bad world of Facebook and who knows what else. It’s all unchartered territory for me, as every new day of his life has been so far. And so far, I don’t think I’ve done too badly.