Sleepover Summer Camp, yo.
TWO of my THREE spawn have flown the coop.
They packed their bags… filled with sunscreen, underwear (it’s there, I checked), a bath towel, a beach towel, at least 4 pairs of shorts, t-shirts, 2 sweat shirts, and so on and so forth…
But I forgot to pack a flashlight for this girl.
I climbed on the bus to help put my daughter’s sleeping bag in the rack above the seats inside the bus. When I turned around to give her a hug and kiss goodbye it hit me. I watched and listened as my girl got giggly with the other girls and I had to choke back tears.
LITERALLY. CHOKED. THEM. BACK.
From the day our little people emerge from THE PLACE FROM WHICH THEY EMERGE … we work to help them grow. We strive to help them become competent and responsible and independent. When they are 5 we hope they are independent enough to tie their own shoes.
Or we buy stock in velcro.
When the kidlets are 5 we don’t really think about how each added competency builds on another until one day… our little birds get their wings. Though this is what we want… though this independence is right and good and healthy… it is really really hard to actually LET them go.
Today I’m only talking about 4 nights of sleepover camp.
I can’t even handle the thought of college right now.
There is a certain bitter-sweetness in seeing your child take flight.
You read it in September on Facebook after mother after mother after mother posts, “Just dropped off Bobby. First day of kindergarten. HOLD ME.”
From dropping off baby at the nursery for the first time, to the first day of preschool, to summer camp, to….
The baby books talk about nursing and rashes. But they say nothing about letting go… and though breastfeeding became the seventh circle of hell for my defective milk makers… letting go has been more tough than bleeding, nursing nipples.
With one of my birds out in the wild… it was time to run a few more errands and get the 14 year old all squared and ready for his flying of the coop the next morning. It was a tough night. And that is really all I can say. But we got on our way the next morning and I forced one of those, “HEY E’ERYBODY, SMILE!!!” pictures on our way in the car…
The realization that Lucy will be the only kid in the house has not yet occurred to her in this picture. She was busy being excited about her new purple scarf. And really, that is as it should be.
I forced my boy to take a picture with me before he even got out of the car. I didn’t really force him to. He knows me, and he obliges. He loves me. But I know it wasn’t his first choice of activities…
Then, of course, I tried to get a picture of him with his camper-y stuff while in the registration line. This time, he refused to look at me.
And just like that… he’s off.
Camp in 2013 is FAR different than camp in 1988.
I’ll admit it… it was hard for me to wrap my mind around him not being able to take his phone. But then I thought back to the late 80’s… in my overnight camp days and THERE WERE NO PHONES !
My parents did just fine. And I did too.
And here I sit. At home. Wondering what my kids are doing. Hoping they are warm. Hoping their shoes are dry. I can see a few pictures of my daughter on one of the leader’s walls on Facebook. I have stalked the pages of a couple of the leaders of my sons camp. Nothing on him just yet.
I miss them.
I am excited for them.
If you have kiddos… have you done this yet? what are your thoughts? What do you put in your care packages? Have you forgotten to pack your kid a flashlight too?
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