It’s a slow and sunny Sunday morning.
I’ve never had a problem with traveling for the past several years. I’ve been working freelance for the most part and have had the opportunity, nay, the luxury to be able to work from wherever I want and whenever I want. That all changes tomorrow. Tomorrow, the littlest Super Tourist starts pre-school. Let’s all take a moment to digest that, shall we?
She starts years and years of being educated within 4-walls of a classroom and although ideally, I would love to have her homeschooled/unschooled for the rest of her life – I do not have the luxury nor the patience to do it myself. So I’m succumbing to traditional methods and because I live in a town that is butt-effing nowhere, the only schools I can choose from are all taught in the literal, “traditional” method – which I do not favor at all. But let’s not get into the nitty gritty Mommy stuff now.
She’ll be doing 2 years of pre-school, 12 years of grade and high school and, if she decides, at least 4 years of college. So for the next 18 years of her life, she will be confined within the walls of a classroom and only allowed to venture out on weekends, holidays and school breaks. Orientation happens after the first week of classes, which doesn’t make sense to me, because you would’ve been oriented yourself at the time – anyway, the first order of business would have to be the school calendar. They have to have that settled in so we can make travel arrangements for the rest of the year.
<So it all starts, she gets fitted for her jumper school uniform and then we went out shoe shopping for her leather shoes. We went for patent leather, of course.>
I’ve got to get the long holidays noted while highlighting the weeks where her exams fall under. When does Christmas break start and when do they have to get back. Surely, the week after semestral break in October, they won’t go into exams immediately or quizzes – so that means I can probably sneak her out for an extra day or two out in the beaches of El Nido or the busy metropolitan of Hong Kong.
The first half of this year was torture for me, seat sales past left and right and I couldn’t do anything but let them slip through my fingers. Sometimes, I’ve even gone as far as the “PAY” button. I stare at the booking and see the dates – weekdays- but it’s such a good deal. I couldn’t get any sort of deal for the weekend. They’ve all been picked up. So many times have I dropped my head down in defeat of the school system calendar and refreshed my browser to go back to Facebook so I can rant about it.
That means, for us, we are now part of the “peak” crowd – the crowd that travels during the peak season of travel – holy week, summer break, Christmas break, semestral break. But I do see myself taking her out of school for an extra day or two – a bad influence on her as a child, I think, as others will see it, but essential for her growth, as I see it as a parent.
I shudder at the thought of going with the crowds, boarding the plane at the very last minute because the flight is full, paying an extra P1000 for a room just because it was “peak season,” and spending an extra 20 minutes in a restaurant or eatery just because it was all busy.
This is the life I’ve been purposely avoiding and here it is, bearing down the highway with full headlights on and no signs of braking. It’s literally the last day before we go into it and I’m a mess.
But all of this worrying isn’t just about the travel we are all going to miss out on. It’s not just about the additional cost and waiting that we’re going to have to do. It’s the indication of the beginning of a new era: her life as a student. This is the first genuine time that she is venturing out there, by herself – going against the world. It’ll be the start of her proving herself that she can do it, that’s she’s brave enough without Mommy being within eye or earshot. It’ll be the start of me handcuffing myself to the sidelines to make sure that I don’t interfere and only guide, and provide comical commentary.
Cliché as it may sound, it’s also the start of the her journey as a person – this way, with the proper introduction of her peers – we will know how much she succumbs into peer pressure, how awesome of a friend she is and how she handles herself in social situations.
The days when I was the most important person in her life are slowly going to pass me by and though there are days when I just wish she could get over it (so I could “get back to work”), it’s always been a secret indulgence of mine that I have been the one person she could not live without. In a few years’ time, I’ll be embarrassing her. In a few years’ time, she’ll be lying to me and trying to escape me to go out with her friends. In a few years’ time, she’ll start to like boys.
Oh yes, the mental train of thought goes as far as that – and beyond, actually. I just would like to stop while I can physically can. Oh yes, for all of you who are parents, I know you know what I’m talking about. And for all of those who aren’t parents yet – I have to tell you now – there is no way you can sympathize or empathize with my situation. Not with your nieces, not with your nephews, not with your godkids. No, unfortunately, this kind of mental state only comes when you spew out the fruit of your own loins. I appreciate the effort though, because I am literally a teary eyed mess right now. All the while, the Happy Meal is indulging in her first iPad games after being grounded for a week for cutting up our bed sheets.
For now, I keep myself distracted by playing a butt-load of Ed Sheeran, Jacko Hooper and Passenger sounds. I may not have a partner to relate all the songs to but it’s better than torturing myself in the depressive state that is general known as “First Day of Pre School.”
Tomorrow is going to hurt. Wish me luck.
By the way, most of the photos here are on our Instagram. Do follow us please: @SupahEileen. As well as Twitter, @SupahEileen as well. Oh and Facebook too: The Super Tourists. If you want, we also have a Pinterest, SupahEileen, that we are doing nothing with, so ummm… yea.