MISSY is going to Rochester, New York with Project Children.  She can’t wait to go.  Four weeks without me shouting about her mingin’ bedroom will be heaven for her.

For anyone unfamiliar with the group, it’s a cross community organisation set up to allow children an escape from war torn Belfast for the month of July.

How many of us would love to go on that ourselves?  How many of us would ship our whole brood out of here for that length of peace and quiet, I mean, time.

She’s had her heart set on it from the word go. But I’ve been up and down with emotions. Some might say I molly coddle her too much.  But she’s only 11.  She’s still my one and only and I’m sending her off to another country to live with people I’ve never met.

When I was 11, I went to visit my aunt Margaret in New York.  I flew alone and looked forward to it.  My jealous brothers made me watch Airplane the night before I went and I thought it was a geg.  Already a seasoned traveller I had no fear of turbulence, plane crashes and dying alone without my mummy.  I didn’t give a monkeys about all that.  But the tables have turned and I’m kacking my panties.

She received a letter last week from her host family.  As well as their house, they have a cabin in the woods.  They are bringing her camping and boating on the lake.  The host mom has arranged for other girls in the neighbourhood to invite her swimming.

This letter made me even worse.

I didn’t imagine the positive aspects of American camping like marshmallows on the fire, singsongs and telling ghost stories.  I didn’t imagine her splashing in a pool with girls her age and running around in the lovely sunshine having the time of her life.  Oh no, miserable Annie here focused on the negatives. I’ve imagined her dying in a drowning incident and I’ve secretly cried about her funeral.  I’m an over protective parent and insanity like this is expected of me.

The family seem nice and I can only hope they treat her well and she makes the best of it.  I wish she comes back a happier child.

When I get released from the Prison of Parenthood on Thursday, I plan to use my time wisely.  As I have been incarcerated for just over a decade, I’ve missed a lot of Belfast’s developing cultural scene.

I’ll do a timetable of stuff I should do.  DIY will not be included.  Alcohol will feature heavily.  I’ve decided to do something different every day.  I will go to the Belfast Welcome Centre and visit my city like a tourist sees it.  Who knows, maybe I’ll grow to like the place and then it’ll be time for Madam’s return and I’ll go back to cleaning my house and being a nagging old witch again.

First published in Facebook Notes on June 24, 2013