Instructions for a Class Trip


It’s a misty, raining, humid morning. The harbor is the color of ice but the water is warm in the shallows. Inside the house, the little clothes dryer is humming and making the air even more muggy because it vents right back into the laundry room.

Tomorrow morning, S will leave for a four-day school trip to the Auckland area. They will be guests at a marae; they will perform their songs and dances; they will have a lot of fun and stay up late and get up early. Her teacher has sent home a detailed itinerary and it is packed full of memories waiting to happen.



I am sewing name labels onto things that can’t be marked with a sharpie because they belong to the house, not us (things like towels and pillowcases). I am sorting clothes and trying to sort through the frustration of the morning interactions:

Which bags to pack?

The No Electronics and No Money rules being verbally countermanded by the teacher. (Oh, really?)

The preparing and excitement and nervousness of a big class trip isn’t just S’s burden, it’s mine too. Sending her off with the right things, the proper clothes, enough wisdom.

The way to send her off with the right things is to trust her. (Two bags are okay? Alright then, two bags: check. Money for the Auckland Market: check.)

The way to send her off with the proper clothes is to trust her. (Roll up the extra shirts and find a place for them somewhere in the bag.)

The way to send her off with enough wisdom is to not question her wisdom. Tell her you trust her; tell her how thoughtful and cheerful and kind and sensible she is. She really is, you know.

Tell her how very much you love her.


4 thoughts on “Instructions for a Class Trip

  1. What an amazing, fun field trip. Sort of trumps our kids spending 3 days down at Camp Seymour near Gig Harbor. 🙂 But the process (emotional & physical) was very similar. Trust, hope & lots of hugs.

    • Brooke, schools here do an end-of-year trip for every class, from the littlest kids to the graduating seniors, and they are really cool trips! I’m chaperoning A’s class trip next week. Since the end of the calendar year is also the end of the school year here, it’s a great way to wrap things up.

  2. Hey Guys, Im Matua Peter, Sophie’s Teacher at Rawene Primary School. Everyone is well and wanted to know how Sophie is?…..Keep in touch…maybe skype…..

    • Matua Peter! How wonderful to hear from you!! Yes, Sophie would love to let you know how this past year has been and we’d all love to hear what’s going on in Rawene. Sophie tells everyone that her favorite teacher of all time is you!

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