A major, life affirming moment has occurred.
School holidays have arrived and contradictory to popular opinion, it is not the headache inducing time of year many people make it out to be.
Admittedly, the winter break is that bit more awkward. If the weather doesn’t come to the party, you can be screwed. A bunch of misfit, stir-crazy nutters, running around in the house, as frustrated as they are frustrating.
Solution? Shunt them off to their Grandmother.
That is what we did and, for the last nine days, numbers one and two have been down south.
Yep, that’s right, middle of winter and we pack our northern kids off to cold southern climes. We leap to the top of the parenting tree right there.
To make matters worse, it isn’t the first time we have done it.
A big shout out to Air New Zealand and their wonderful service for unaccompanied minors. This is the second time we have wrapped the girls up and bundled them off on their own. A big adventure they get very excited about.
Rightly so. They are travelling virtually the length of the country. It is all day journey, by the time we take the four hour drive to Auckland airport from home. The length of the latest excursion was exasperated by the thunder and lightening storms delaying all and ever flight.
The warning signs were all there. Dark, rolling clouds, smothered the city-scape in a sense of foreboding, then that first look at the departures board, highlighted by delays and cancellations.
Dunedin was still up for grabs, so we dutifully checked in. And waited. And waited.
Just a note to the few grumpy bastards, who seemed to be desperate to jump on a plane and go flying throw streaks of lightening, obviously desperate to be a part of the rolling clap of thunder. Leave the lady on the desk alone. As much control as she has over the status your journey, she has none over the weather. I was sitting there with two children growing ever more restless, impatient and nervous. Yet not a peep. There were other families too, in the same predicament, three or so hours into what turned out to be a four hour wait for boarding. One group in particular, young kids, not a problem; cool, calm and collected. Get a grip people.
That’s right, we are in Auckland Airport and have been for hours longer than we expected. The threat of boredom and restlessness abounds. No worries, nothing a bit of junk food can’t cure.
Allowing our big girls the opportunity to develop and progress by feeling brave and responsible, is awesome. They are monitored and watched and accompanied and thoroughly looked after on a journey such as the one they have just undertaken, but at the end of the day, they are doing it all on their own…and loving it.
I guess it felt a little like we are loosening the reigns, but that is sanctimonious drivel. We are not that progressive as parents, not that open and honest and positive in and of the world. Certainly not when it comes to throwing your kids out among it. We are all for a bit of a sink or swim attitude, the throw them in at the deep end approach. Only when the appropriate safety nets are in place.
So right there is the first dose, the first flush, of pride. I bundle my first and second born beloveds onto the delayed flight, with who knows what form of convoluted travel plan ahead of them, with nothing more than a brief hug and a peck on each cheek. Not single a tear shed. Not even from me!
The next shot in the arm for my charming dearest and myself, the next ego boost, the next confirmation that despite all the pitfalls, all the mistakes and the lessons we have failed to learn, despite the lack of patience and our inability to fully empathise with the coming generations, even the ones we have created, it seems as if we may have gotten a few things right. At least according to other people.
I’m not naive. I know it is the way with most kids. Out of sight of Mum and Dad and they are sweet, loving, kind, caring and courteous little angels. Not exactly polar opposite from the fallen, crooked halo celestial beings we know and love.
When the confirmation comes from a source that, while you don’t crave their approval, it is bloody nice when you get it, you can only feel a swell of ‘Damn skippy, you know it!’
Fast forwarding (picture the video tape era, with its flickery, scrolling screen, not the digital swish of the modern ear) and we find ourselves over a week down the track and the kids are nearly all set for the return journey home.
Speaking of the digital age, having the crew being able to update us back of their holiday, virtually every step of the way, was awesome. Girls One and Two were kept well entertained by their Nana and love hanging with their cousins. By all accounts, temperature aside, a good time had by everyone.
I get a message from the the girls Nana, not unexpected and full of all the stuff you would want to hear; had a great time, was a pleasure, will miss them. It was one particular line buried in the message that caught me thought. One thought, one sentiment. One compliment. My mother told me that my girls were a delight…expected, we knew that already.
My Mother, Grandmother to my children, told me that my kids were a credit to us.
To us. Their Mother and Father.
Not a big moment. A massive one. A little trigger in the chamber of life, letting us know we have loaded our kids well and, when the time is right, when our aim is true, we can fire them down the barrel, out into the world.
Job well down.