“Shall I tell you about my Superweek Mum?” He asks as we are cracking the ice on a puddle near Wyre Piddle.
It was the day after Boxing Day. A mere 122 days after his return travel day from his Superweek at Moor Park. To be honest I had given up trying to find out about Ben’s first ever Superweek, despite having spent a good chunk of the last 8 or more years imagining it, having worked on Superweeks myself. Over the years, I have often wondered what children might say to their parents on return, what would stick in their minds and what they would feel important enough to impart. I now have a sample of one to start my research entitled SOS (Signs of Superweek). I would put the SOS’s into 4 categories:
- The more obvious signs: (actual physical evidence)
* Things he had made, e.g. beautiful tie dye T-shirt; ingenious mad hatter’s hat made of playing cards; purple felted purse (which will come in handy as a bag for spy equipment) * Loads of marvellously mucky clothes * Some very big sleeps.
- The, initially very sparse, verbal reports:
* A warning to steer clear of Liz, for fear of her worrying ability to turn people to dust with one stare * A complaint about walking a quazillion miles, but it being OK because matron brought fish+chips.
- The Hidden tell-tale signs(ones which maybe only a parent who’s worked on a Superweek would recognise):
* The sniggering at the table when I discover I am to wipe up, having missed the surreptitiously placed thumb (mind, I always wipe up!) * The almost subliminal waft in the air of the words, “… don’t leave the path at the Wizard’s Inn or drink at the wizard’s well…” sung whilst Lego-ing * His own plate cleared and scraped (mostly onto the floor, but the intention was there) without being asked.
- The out-of-the-blue Golden Nuggets.
The happiness of reading a note from Ben’s monitor, which we only saw once granted access to the daysack a week later. What a gift! I cannot tell you how tricky it is to put your child on a bus and send him away for 7 nights, with people he doesn’t know. I can only tell you how hard it was sending him to people that we know and love. Oh sooooo hard! Receiving such a thoughtful note letting us know that our small boy had been cherished and enjoyed and that he had been a member of a close group of people, gave us both so much happiness and even more faith in the organisation. I don’t need to know any more about his Superweek now. He was cared for, he was important and he was part of his own adventure. I was, of course, over-the-moon on the day after Boxing Day, to receive an hour long monologue about his friends, the games, the songs, the forest-fruit-fizz, the big boy who liked Lego, the chocolate, the food, the funny little mark above his bed, “the top bunk you know, mum…”.
Thank you ATE.