Yesterday I saw my 11-year-old son, Eli, off to sleep-away camp for the very first time. As a camp policy, we cannot call them and they cannot call us.
We have never been separated for so long.
Out of my three children, Eli is the most needy, the most affectionate, and the most likely to attend college in the community simply to stay close to us.
He often sings me goofy songs, such as “You’re my mommy, I love my mommy,” while he gives me a hug and rocks me. (Note: He is only a few inches shorter than I am. This is going to feel weird in a few years…)
He visited his Auntie’s a while back and stayed over for two nights. Her house was only about 20 minutes away, He was unable to sleep the second night because he missed us so much. He was up crying so Auntie let him into her bed and they stayed up talking until he felt better. (Poor Auntie had a 3-month-old baby at the time!)
I wonder how tonight, the second night of his stay at camp, will go…
I know he will be with friends having a good time.
I know he will be wiped out from all the activity, both mental and physical.
But will that be enough to make him forget his homesickness?
I hope so.
My girls are quite different.
My 8-year-old, Payten, takes off to any new adventure without a second glance. We yell, “Bye, Payten! Have fun! I love you!” and we hear a very faint “Byeeeee….” as she runs off.
With Paige, my almost 7-year-old, it’s either feast or famine. She often doesn’t acclimate well to new situations; however, her reaction isn’t consistent.
Yesterday was the second time Payten went to day camp. She was excited and, as expected, had no problems.
How would Paige react? Would she cling to us, teary eyed about the group of children she didn’t know, or would she be okay with Sissy by her side?
Yesterday, as Andrew and I were signing them into camp, they took off across the grass so quickly that we didn’t get to say good-bye. Today, at drop off, I was able to bid them farewell, but no time for hugs or I love you’s.
Yesterday, I asked them about camp; what they did, did they have fun, what was their favorite part, etc. I will do this each afternoon when we get home.
I will have to wait until Friday to learn about Eli’s camp experiences; all five days of adventures in one afternoon.
He wants me to pick him up rather than take the bus home. He wants to show me around the camp and all the things he’s done. But he also wants to see me (and Andrew, if he can get off work) earlier than the time the bus arrives home.
I hope he has only good things to report.
I hope he wants to attend again next year.
I hope this is another step in the direction of independence…
But I hope he is never too independent to sing me his goofy songs and hug me!!