I did it.
I woke up at 4 am yesterday to put Big Kid on a bus leaving town without me.
I didn't really sleep because I was awake every hour on the hour, checking the time and alternating between plans to "miss" the bus and have to drive up there or just making the executive decision to take a one night vacation in the same city as the school trip, solely for my own sake.
Mr. Ashley kept reassuring me that he would be fine, and I kept explaining that this was for ME, that I might not be fine and that I would just feel so much better that it would be worth the time and expense.
This morning when I went to wake him, he bounced out of bed before I even entered the room, all smiles and big-eyed with a glowing excitement. Ugh. I had to let him go. He chatted happily about his seat mate and his plans for the ride up as I checked and re-checked his bags and my inner ability to allow this to happen.
I was really worried that I would ugly cry or somehow embarrass him so I really focused on not doing that. It was going pretty well.
Then he boarded the bus.
I went to the other side of the bus for a picture of him through the window.
Then I saw a lady pick up his bag and put it in the overhead compartment. The bag had his entertainment and snacks in it, and I knew he wouldn't bother anyone to retrieve it for him now that he was seated.
I considered what to do. I knew I should just go home and let it work itself out but I looked around and realized no adults were really watching the entrance to the bus...and I slipped on.
Yes, I did. Yes, I know this was probably not the best choice. I know because Mr. Ashley told me so but I don't care one bit.
"Here's your Kindle," I said, plucking it from his bag. He looked at me with a face that said, "Seriously?" and thanked me.
"Have fun!" I said, slipping back off the bus. I knew not to kiss him or anything, and I didn't cry. I was pretty proud I didn't give in to my impulse to just hide in the bathroom of the bus and become a stowaway.
Overall, I'm counting the whole drop-off as a success.
He seems to be having fun and has been in intermittent contact through texts. He guiltily confessed to the soda he bought each day, assuring me of his caffeine-free choices, despite me telling him to enjoy himself and eat and drink what he wants within reason.
I have done mostly okay this entire time, with only one stomach-turning moment of "What in the hell have I done?" yesterday afternoon when his phone died. I'm really glad I let him go.
I'm also really glad he'll be home tonight.