Thursday, June 26, 2008

summer camp 101

This is a big summer for us. Samuel is going away to summer camp... Sleepaway summer camp. Tomorrow. For five days.

He was so ridiculously excited when we signed him up last Fall. And though he was a bit disappointed when I told him that no, it wasn't going to be the kid-lead-lord-of-the-flies-anarchy he envisioned, but it would still be amazingly fun.

And then a couple of weeks ago, he began to get a little anxious about it.

Every night when I tuck him in he tells me he's very excited, but is nervous, too. And I respond with the very responsible and maternal, "Oh Sweetie, it's so normal to be nervous about being away from home for the first time, but you're going to love camp."

And it is as if this responsible, maternal demon has taken over my mouth because what I really feel like saying is:

"Oh Sweetie, I am soooo glad you said that because I feel like maybe it was a little too Martha Stewart of me to sign you up to go away for that many days when you're only eight, and I'm pretty sure I'll lose my mind wondering how you're doing everyday and what if you get scared and are too embarrassed to cry or what if you have an asthma attack or have an allergic reaction to a dog, or something happens and your kayak turns over..."

Yesterday I printed out the checklist of things he needed to bring and he began packing and checking off the list. He took it very seriously and because Wendy Mogul says that a kid who can pack his own bag does better on his own, I didn't even butt in when he picked five outfits that seriously did not match.

Today I sent Samuel a care package with comic books and Pokemon cards so that it is either there when he gets there or arrives the day after he gets there. I addressed it to "Sam" and signed it "Love, Mom and Dad" instead of Mommy and Daddy because I knew he'd be mortified if there was any evidence of him being little.

It felt odd.

Because I am not Mom. I am Mommy. Or Mama. or Mamadoo (as Samuel calls me, and I like it even though it sounds a little more like Marmaduke than I'd like).

I sort of dread the silence that will invade our house next week. Tali will have nobody to pester, I won't have anyone to watch Japanese gameshows with (um, not the best parenting moment, but a weakness S and I both share), and I'll miss my guy who always surprises me with really interesting questions like "When you were a kid, did you really think you could ever think like a grownup?"

How much can a kid grow up in a week?

But my memories of summer camp are some of the best of my childhood. I loved feeling independent and grown-up, yet safe with my counselors. I loved playing all day and staying up late at night. I loved the friends I met. And as a parent, I appreciate the fact that my parents made it a priority that I went.

And so I can't promise I won't embarrass Samuel by not crying on Friday as he gets on the bus to go to camp. But, I will wear sunglasses.


Becky said...

OMG I'm totally crying now.

Beautiful post.

Shannon said...

Thoughtful Mama.

(Yes, I'm calling you names) :)

Marketing Mama said...

Okay, I've been avoiding reading this post because I didn't want to be sad and cry. But I finally read it, and I felt sad and cried. I hope you are doing okay. I bet he'll have a great time!