My oldest child, Sky is leaving today for a 5 day trip with school. Five whole days. He's never been gone by himself five days before. The school calls this "Week Without Walls", we call it "Week Without Sky". He can't wait. In fact he's been packed for the last 10 days at least. I had no idea that he could pack so quickly, efficiently, maturely and compliantly. I didn't even have to ask, nag or cajole him to do any of this. Hang on, where is the real Sky and what have you done with him? Wait does this version of Sky put his dirty clothes in the hamper too?
Sky is a boy. And boys as you may know are not known for their hygiene. Sky is no exception. So he's going away and I won't be there to nag him to shower. And then to further nag him to actually use soap and remind him to wash his pits and stanky feet and everything in between. I have no illusions that he is actually going to remember this on his own because I'm sure 6th grade boy peer pressure is pro-stank. And I realize that the 12 year old boys have more influence on him than does his mother in these matters. So how am I going to encourage him to shower during the Week Without Sky? And I would take a run in with a garden hose or a gentle rain shower and check the box with that. Anything to keep the malassezia furfur (sounds bad doesn't it) and/or flesh eating bacteria at bay until he's back on my watch.
The cool thing that proves you're a man-boy at my kids school? Axe. Sky has begged me to buy him axe in the past. I have refused on the grounds that until you can consistently shower all your parts WITH SOAP, I will not provide you with a spray that you will merely try to mask the stank with. But, I am offering a furlough for "Week Without Sky" because I do want to encourage the teachers to actually bring him back with them. So I consider is my civic duty as a parent to persuade him to be as fragrantly pleasing as possible. So today is the day that I will break down and buy Sky Axe. When I go to Marjane there are about 20 different Axe scents to choose from and I'm paralyzed with possibilities. Until I see chocolate. Perfect. Sky will probably think that Axe will attract 6th grade girls. Except that 6th grade girls are NOT interested in 6th grade boys. Thank god!
The day before the trip Sky wants to go to Marjane to get some snacks to bring on the trip to share with his friends. So I, certified hater of Marjane,(which is like Super Walmart, but far worse) break my solemn vow to not Marjane after 10am when it starts to get busy. I take Sky and feel like I've made the ultimate mom sacrifice for my kid. It's already busy but I'm trying to be cool calm mom. He's overwhelmed, which kinda makes me feel better because I thought I just felt that way cause I'm old. It takes several trips down several aisles to narrow the selection. He's thinking and over thinking what his friends will like or not like. And he actually organized with his friends the first days lunch. His friends will bring drinks and another will bring sandwiches. He, he volunteered to bring fruit. Of his own free will. Who is this organized responsible kid? As we meander through the store he asks for far less than I would if my mom took me snack shopping. We end up with corn nuts, mentos, gummies, apples and cherries.
His things are packed up in his room sitting right next to his toys, most of which don't get played with anymore. He can't wait for life's adventures. This is one of those pivotal moments that is going to repeat itself, slowly seeing his childhood slip away and witnessing his transition to independence. And stepping back and watching it all unfold knowing that this is right where he needs to be at this time. Even if I'm not ready. Even if he's travelling 4 hours away from me for 5 days. Even if he doesn't take a shower for 5 days and returns with the most fowl stank cleverly (or not so cleverly) disguised (or not disguised at all) with chocolate axe.
The Loerzel 5-Day Social Experiment: How will Sky's absence change the dynamics of our other 3 kids?