It's been a while since I've posted anything (I know, not news to you). Maybe this time I'm posting for myself as much as anything else. It's a big week here, though...it's when we send Carson to France for three weeks.
There, I said it. Wow. It hardly seems possible.
Oh, the logistics of it are possible all right: he will depart this coming Saturday at 2:00, arrive the next morning in Paris, take a bus with his fellow travelers to the city of Amiens, and be greeted with a group lunch and his host family. He has a passport, a big suitcase, some electronics, books, and snacks, and a journal to write about his experience.
And it's possible also because of the awesome school he and Cooper attend. They've facilitated these exchanges many times to France, Costa Rica, and most recently Madrid. His chaperone is someone who has taken groups of Fifth Graders to France many times: she's organized, specific about what she expects from the kids, and she's a mom.
The "hardly seems possible" comes in when I consider that I'm good with all that. It's been a process, don't get me wrong. When he started at this school in Kindergarten, I heard about the French Exchange and it felt scary: I mean, c'mon, Carson was SIX. I couldn't imagine for a minute putting my baby on a plane without me. And letting him stay with strangers for three weeks, in a foreign country.
Then over the years my "baby" started hearing snippets at school about the exchange. I think I must have asked him a thousand times since 2009: "Carson, would you want to go on the exchange?" I was tempted to start fabricating horror stories about kids who wailed for days when they got over there, how French food is really horrible, and no soccer balls are allowed in France.
But I resisted, and I heard wonderful things about the experience, from both kids and parents. The kids get to go to school, tour Paris and other amazing sites, and use their French language skills for three weeks solid. And they come back with a new appreciation for their international counterparts. Their global horizon is broadened. There's emotional growth and they become more responsible.
And every single time I asked him if he wanted to go, he always said yes. Without hesitation.
But hey, just because my kid wants to do something doesn't me we always say yes (soccer, golf, and basketball notwithstanding). I also think Carson's mature enough to handle it. He's comfortable meeting new people, he can handle social situations, and he is responsible with his belongings. And he's done a little air travel so that's not an issue. He has closed all the loopholes!
So now the possibility has become reality: he's going. I'm letting him. I'm going to miss him terribly. I'm going to Skype him and email him. I'm going to cry when he leaves for so many reasons.
I'm also going to spoil Cooper for three weeks.
His host family: