Stretching the umbilical cord

My son went away on Scout camp at the weekend. I didn’t bat an eyelid. He’s been on so many camps I’ve lost count. He did a four day camp three years ago when he’d just turned 9 and a five day residential with school last year in year 6. So a weekend camp is NOTHING.

I admit I quite enjoy it. It’s nice to have one less person to think about/ worry about/ organise. I feel more relaxed with us as a textbook family of one mummy, one daddy, one boy and one girl. Everything is so much easier, everyone is so much more settled.

But then I got a text from another parent on Sunday afternoon, a few hours before my son was due home. I’m not sure why she sent it. I’m sure she meant well, but it unsettled me. She’d picked her son and a couple of other boys up early and, when they were nearly home, her son had mentioned that my boy wanted to go home too.

I had to get to him! My poor boy! On a hill! In the heat! Wanting to come home!

Suddenly I could feel the pull of the long-gone umbilical cord. We had other stuff to do, but all I could think about was my big boy and him wanting to come home. I calculated how long it would take me to get to him, locate him and bring him home.

I was halfway out of the door when I stopped to think.

What if he didn’t want to come home early? What if he didn’t want me to get him? What if he wasn’t too hot and too tired? What if he was having fun?

Because if I know my son, he would have been having fun. Scout camp is where he’s at his happiest. He doesn’t worry about being too hot or too tired, it doesn’t seem to affect him.

So I decided to leave him. But all afternoon I could feel the umbilical cord being stretched to the limit. What if he knew that I knew he was unhappy? What if he knew that I had taken the decision to leave him there when he was unhappy? Was I a bad mother? Was I putting my other kids and a few more hours’ peace before my eldest, stuck up on a hill in the heat?

I was unsettled, I couldn’t stop thinking about him. But I left him there and he came back on the minibus as planned.

‘Did you have a good time? Your friend said you wanted to come home.’

‘I didn’t want to come home!’

‘These mobile phones,’ said the Scout leader. ‘They should be banned.’

Too blimmin’ right! Stretching my poor umbilical cord all afternoon for nothing!


Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. I know exactly how you feel with that umbilical cord that never really gets cut at all for us Mums does it? One day last week my son went into school all upset when I dropped him off, which is unusual for him. I phoned the school when I got home and they reassured me. But I worried about him all day. Visions of him sitting crying all day. Then when I went to pick him up, he was as cheerful as ever. It was as though I had completely imagined the morning’s events!

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  2. I think it’s never truly severed, and I totally agree with you on the mobile phone thing too! I am abroad at the moment, and I don’t even have mine switched on! 😀

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  3. AArggghh!How annoying for you, sometimes you are better off not knowing! Glad he was having fun xx

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  4. I used to be a scouting leader and went on several camps. I requested a mobile phone shutdown between parents and requested that if a child got sent home, it wasn’t communicated between the parents, and assured the parents that if there were ANY problems with their own child, I would make contact, or indeed the home contact would. It’s almost like when they start nursery and you’re sat there worrying about them, and they’re not even thinking about you. I’m glad he had an amazing time – Scouting is great for young people 🙂

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  5. My hubby usually goes on these camps so I’m lucky that I don’t have to worry but like you I would have been wondering how to get there and fetch them, it is hard letting go but trust me however big they get that umbilical cord is always there

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  6. Thanks very much, everyone! Nikki – you are so lucky Daddy is there too. But I know my son is pretty resilient and I trust the Scout leaders to let me know if there’s a problem.
    Cathie – our Scouts ban phones, but as the kids get older it’s harder to police it. There’s really no need for them to have them – the leaders will get in touch with parents if there’s a problem. Great idea to make it a rule that parents don’t communicate either. I’m sure this mum thought she was doing me a favour, but all she did was make me worry unnecessarily.
    It was just the same situation as yours, Dawn! Worrying for nothing 🙁

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  7. Ah I can imagine the feeling – it is physical isn’t it as well as emotional! Pesky mobile phones! xx

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  8. Arr I can feel what you felt, I am a worrier and would want to rush over and get him too ,Bless all that worrying and he was fine..

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  9. So typical, eh? Glad I’m not the only worrier, ladies! I really admire people who don’t worry, life must be so much easier!
    Thank you both very much for commenting.

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