Sleep Away Camp = College Drop Off Training

I don’t know why I keep doing this to myself…everything was just fine in my house and summer as we know it would be just like any other summer – until I got the idea in my head that my youngest was ready for sleep away camp. Why? Why – I ask myself. Why did I think this was such a brilliant idea when none of his three siblings ever went to sleep away camp before at his age? I’m starting to think I’m a bit of a sadist. Did I mention that I am in a perpetual,fragile state to begin with as my oldest child AND my niece/goddaughter are preparing for their first year of college – as in leaving home. As in – my family is about to change, BIG TIME…did I mention that I HATE change? Did I mention that I purposely force myself out of my comfort zone just to adapt to change? Ugh…why can’t everything stay the same? Why can’t my kids all stay the ages they are at and we just continue to be a party of six. The answer is because the only thing that remains the same is the fact that life continues to change. Saturday we dropped off our almost ten year old son to sleep away camp for one week. One of his sisters would be at the camp as well although in a different part, but they were sure to run into eachother at some point through out the day which was a comfort to me. We will not be speaking, texting or communicating in any other direct way for a week. This is hard for me. This kid is the one who, when his three teenage siblings are still sound asleep, wakes up too early, comes in to our room and the first thing he says is “I love you Mom”. This is how I get to wake up every day!!! Part of me wants to tell him that it’s too early and that he just woke me up but then I catch myself and quickly realize that he’s about all I’ve got left in this department. No one else is EVER going to wake me up like this again for the rest of my life – not until they come and God willing say,”I love you Grandma”. So, I’m holding on to this kid for dear life. Not looking to let go any time soon. Well I had to run to Bed Bath and Beyond the day before camp was starting to get a fan for my son. I was doing just fine, making my way around the store, finding what I needed and was feeling rather accomplished at this moment in time. And there I was….I took a wrong turn and found myself in the “Off to College” section. Everthing was ok until I saw this pretty paisley laundry bag that carries TWO loads of laundry at once! I had to get this for my niece (my son would never carry anything this pretty) and suddenly, with out any notice, I felt something hot on my cheek, then both cheeks. I was having a “moment” right there in the middle of the store. I was praying that I wouldn’t see anyone I knew because I was falling apart and quick! I soon realized that getting my little guy ready for camp was no differnt than seeing my oldest son or niece off to college – it’s all the same just different ages and different places.I can tell you what else IS the same no matter who, what or where – the feeling that a piece of you is being taken away, the tiny, slight, “hate to admit it” feeling of being just a little bit abandoned/left behind, the worry of not being missed and the Grand Daddy of them all – the one we don’t want to say out loud…. The worry of not being needed. There – I said it. Not being needed – that’s a tough one . And I don’t mean this in a needy kind of way. Not everyone feels the same way but I take such pleasure and pride in making my family happy and providing a happy and healthy environment in which to grow up. Hadn’t I given them everything they could have wanted and needed? What are they running off to camp and college for? And…. in the same summer! They are trying to slowly kill me. No – not really. I have been told (and I used to hate this) that the fact that both of my boys are able to adapt so easily and readily is that – gulp – my husband and I have done our job. We have raised them to be independent, adventurous, caring, willing and life loving individuals. The same is true for our girls who share the exact same attitude and enthusiasm for change as their brothers. So I should feel good about this, right? As much as I get that sudden pain in my heart when I think about things too much, I know more deeply in my heart that none of them need me the way they used to. And it’s okay – it has to be. Time stands still for no one and there is a whole wide world out there just waiting for them. They are all interesting, amazing and different from each other and I can hardly wait to see who and what they will all become. Come to think of it, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me as well….I just hope I am as brave as they are. xo