Who’s in charge?
Who’s in charge?
Parent24 Editor, Scott Dunlop

Kurt Eckhardt wrote recently about the anxiety he felt at leaving his baby at day care for the first time. Other parents commiserated, and promised him that it gets better. The trouble is, it doesn’t:

My daughter is ten. Today is the day she’s been chattering away about for weeks- School camp day. When the school loads the entire grade into buses and whisks them away to some distant spot where the kids will learn about nature and teamwork, while their parents glance at the clock every two minutes, waiting.

Some children will be a little weepy at night. For many, it will be the first night away from home. Others will get caught up in the excitement and whisper and giggle into the wee hours with their friends. I know what goes on at camps, having been to a few, but I’m still petrified on her behalf.

Buses! The school has promised buses with up-to-date safety records, but still... Buses! And that’s just getting there. There are bee stings, food allergies and freak accidents to fret over. What if they swim in a dam and something goes wrong, or, God forbid, a pervert-criminal somehow manages to infiltrate the camp? (Note to self: Only watch happy movies from now on).

Kurt wrote of his horror at having to sign away his child’s life on an indemnity form- I wish I could draft one for the teachers to sign:

I will hereby treat this child as my own and guard her with my LIFE.

I will personally ensure that bee stings, shark attacks, snake bites and lightning bolts will not occur during my period of responsibility for this child. (Amend as necessary for any and all ripples of nature and Acts of God.)

I will at all times make sure that this child is happy and smiling. Or else.

It’s just too much to cope with- especially since my youngest headed into Grade One this year in his badly-laced shoes, and my eldest started as a small fish in the violent and unpredictable ocean that is high school. My nerves!

Look, I may be projecting a little: Apart from being excited and dancing from foot to foot a lot, she simply mentioned this morning that she has a “bubbly tummy”. I know a lot of you relate, though- I saw all of the parents with their sunglasses and tissues waving goodbye as their precious children climbed onto the bus. It felt dreadful, shocking and final, as my little girl with the big bag and the shining eyes turned to wave the prettiest little wave, and headed into... the unknown.

I’ll try to be brave. She’d like that.

What has been the most difficult challenge for you in terms of letting go of your child? Why not send us your story to chatback@parent24.com and you could win a R250 kalahari.com voucher!


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