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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Camp

One of my goals for June was to "not panic while the boys were away at camp".  This might seem funny, but unfortunately I'm very serious.  This year the boys went to church camp (about an hour away) for the first time.  We took them Sunday afternoon and won't see them again until Friday night. 

I would not say I'm a nervous parent, but now that I'm not working I find myself even more protective of the boys than I was when they were little.  I'm not sure why that is.  I don't think it's overprotective necessarily, but I guess I'm so connected to their daily lives now that it is really odd not to know what they're doing at all times.

I'd like to point out that I was all for them going to camp in February when I signed them up.  David wasn't so sure, and we've talked up until last week that one or the other may not be ready to go.  I was fine until we actually arrived at the camp.  Then I became one of those moms.

This is a beautiful camp in the hills on a gorgeous lake.  We've all been there before as a family.  I trust the people who run the camp completely.  But, I also knew that I had one child with Asperger's and another one going through a moody phase.  I was not sure that is was fair to take them without some "heads up" to the counselors so they would know how to talk our boys down when they got frustrated.  Like most summer camps, there are no electronics and cell phones and the campers don't call home.  But I wanted the counselors to know that they could certainly make an exception for my boys and call me any.time.  And I meant it.  I sent an email ahead of camp, and our family pastor talked to them when she was visiting last week.  They must have thought I was the most overprotective mom out there.

We celebrated Father's Day with David and then we took the boys to camp on Sunday.  I was fine.

David and Thomas at brunch

We got the boys registered and then headed to their cabins to meet their counselors and get them settled.  I figured we would be there for a couple of hours.  Then I see all these parents saying goodbye and taking off - before their kids were even unpacked!  And these kids were fine!  I wanted to help unpack and put everything in their drawers.  I wanted to give advice on where to put everything.  I wanted to walk around the grounds with them until they felt really acclimated.

They were ready for me to go.  Or stay.  Whichever.  They were really fine either way.  My eyes welled up with tears - they are so grown up.  Stinkers.

David (Mr. I'm-not-sure-they're-ready) announced we were leaving.  Hugs and I love you's all around and we were barely out the cabin door when he was asking about going to see a movie.  Where was the concern?  The tears?  The anguish? 

I know it's not about them not being here this week that is bothering  unsettling me.  I think it's the fact that they've grown up to a point where their lives are full and happy without me around 24/7.  The nerve.

I slept with my cell phone Sunday night sure the camp would call.  Nope.  The main counselor did call me yesterday just to check in and tell me that Brennan was doing beautifully.  He knows how to ask for what he needs (a schedule of the day primarily) so that he can know what to expect and he knows how to tell someone when he's getting frustrated.  The sweet, sweet lady told me that I would be so proud of my boy if I could see him.  He's doing so well.  What a great call to get.  It meant a lot.

It occurs to be that I should be focusing on the fact that my boys are growing up to be strong, independent, well-adjusted tweens (ack) who I should be very proud of.  Better that than focus on the fact that they're growing up waaayyy too fast.

So, my boys are at camp for a week.  Without me.  David's doing just fine (stinker).  We've enjoyed time with friends and time together.  And it's already Wednesday so they'll be home soon.  I'm not panicking but I am rather sadly aware that this is what it's all about.  I'm wistfully preparing myself for the numerous times ahead when this feeling will pop up again.  Next time I'll try to be ready.


Anna said...

As hard as it was to let them go, I am sure they are having a great time. You must have taught them to be confident and independent!

Ricki Jill Treleaven said...

My 13 year old still will not do overnight camp. She attends a riding day camp. I understand your nervousness, though.