Benjamin got to go on a really fun trip today to the water park (more accurately, a water playground) here in Vienna. I’d heard about this place, and I’d been meaning to take the kids, but being busy as we are, and being gone for the entire month of July, I just hadn’t gotten the chance. It’s very close to Benjamin’s school — they were able to walk there.
We packed his backpack with a swimsuit, sun hat, sunscreen and a towel, and he was very cute headed off to school, ready for his adventure. It sounds like they had a lot of fun. He told us about playing on the bouncy bridge over the water, and about a boat they pulled across the water with a rope. He held hands with his best friend most of the time, and the entire class had lunch and ice cream before they headed back to school. Sounds like a great way to spend a very hot day in Vienna. He had a great time.
I’m thrilled that he enjoyed himself. He was so excited to go, and it made me really happy to see how enthusiastic he’s gotten about going on outings with his class. But, at the same time, it was pretty stressful for me, as his mom. I didn’t really know what to expect from this trip — I didn’t know what the park was like, what the teachers expectations were of him. Just having a child in a school in a country where I don’t know what the default expectations are forces me to let go and accept that we aren’t going to get it right a lot of the time. But when there’s an outing, it becomes worrisome.
I didn’t really know what to expect about this park (and the English-speaking teacher being on vacation made it really hard to find out). I knew it was a water park, but what does that mean here? Would there be rides? Slides? Swimming? How deep would the water be? Do most Austrian 4 year olds swim? He can’t swim yet (but he thinks he can) so we made sure to explain to the teachers that he actually can’t. And I always worry that he’ll get lost or get separated from the group. I know that would be a worry for any child on any school trip, but it’s made worse by the fact that if he did get lost, he’d have trouble communicating his problem, and getting help, because of the language barrier.
Even after checking everything with the teachers and preparing him as best we could, I worried a lot today. I’m a worrier. I don’t know if it comes from the natural instinct I have to try to control everything, or if I just manage to possess both of those inconvenient companions, but put me in any situation, or propose to me any scenario, and I’ll always jump right to a worst case scenario.
(There are a few very limited situations in which this is helpful — I would never go on a day trip to the mountains, for example, without lots of water and warm clothes in my bag, becasue what if we got lost or stuck and had to spend the night exposed to the elements? — but mostly, my worry is something I have to fight off in order to live peacefully.)
In this case, as in almost every case, my worry was for nothing. All went well, and he had a great time. And, he was safe the whole time. They always hold hands when they’re out in a group, and every time he went in any water deeper than his ankles, one of the teachers went with him and held his hand (even though I don’t think there was water more than knee deep for him anywhere).
It’s so hard for me to let go enough for him to do stuff like this, but I know it’s important. I’m glad I don’t let my worrying get in the way of him having a good time. I hope that I can diminish my degree of stress over this kind of thing as time goes on, but I doubt it. I’ll get more used to it, as he gets bigger, but the stressers get will bigger, too. For today, we did well. B had a great time, and I let him — success all around.