The Calm Before The Storm

David and Carver had a boys getaway together--they camped at one of our favorite campgrounds, which is also just a few miles away from the camp Carver is attending. I drove up Sunday morning with Z and Lily to help them pack out, and then while David drove home with the two youngest, I stayed with Carver. We had 3 hours before we could check into camp, so we went fishing. Fishing is Carver's new favorite hobby. He loves to tinker and fiddle with things, and attaching hooks and bait and sinkers and bobbers to a fishing line just thrills him. While he fished, a butterfly landed on his hand. We sat on the pebbly shore and admired the view, chatted, and relaxed. When he'd had his fill of fishing, we drove the dirt backroads to his camp (we'd never been before). The gates opened at 1:00 and we were a little early, which turned out to be a good thing because after we had checked in and finished paperwork the line of people waiting for their turn was enormous.
I don't know why, but I think I had imagined that I would pull up, unload Carver's duffel bag and find Carver's counselor, and then be shooed away. Which was completely stupid of me because it took an hour to check him in. Duh! I had to fill out more medical paperwork, liability forms, transportation forms, and on and on (in addition to what I'd already filled out and sent to them weeks ago). It was incredibly well organized, but certainly overwhelming. He was deemed "finished" and then we went to find his cabin. His cabin is adorable, and there are two counselors and six boys. What a great ratio! He scoped out where he wanted to sleep, poked around, and then we looked at each other like, "Now what do we do?" There wasn't anyone else in the cabin (because the counselors were all working at various stations and greeting people at the front of camp) so we walked around and explored. There are tons of places to play, and a beachfront on the lake where you can swim. There's a blob, zipline, waterslide, horseback riding, canoeing, rifles, archery, and just about everything else you can imagine at a camp. Since we don't allow guns at our house, Carver is freaking hyper interested in the rifle range.
We wandered over to a grassy field and found a few counselors who were playing with kids who were all checked in and their parents had left. I asked Carver if he wanted me to stay longer or was he ready to get his camp experience started. He was ready for me to go. Since we had already had lots of talks about what camp would be like, I didn't have much else to say to him.
I hugged him, told him I loved him and I'd pray for him, and walked away. Good thing I was wearing my big, dark sunglasses. I bawled. Completely lost it. I looked back once and waved. I saw him wipe his eyes. I called good bye and gave him a big smile. And that was it.
I imagine last night was hard. He does not know a soul there, and being gone from home for a week is a big deal. But I know that by today, after he got that first night out of the way and now that he's probably made a friend and knows his counselors and is playing outside, he'll be fine. He's our most outgoing, extroverted kid. But as a mom, this is grueling. This transitioning to letting go; having a child that you used to do everything for... and you used to be everything to them. By leaving him at camp for a week, I am essentially cutting some of the cords that bind us together.
And I don't care who you are or how independent you want your kids to be--that is hard.


Old Men Reflect said...

It does not get any better when they are 40. Completely independent, but you think of them several times each day.

Mark and Sarah said...

I'm bawling now too. Oh love, what a double edged sword you are.

Deirdre said...

Oy. I can only imagine how hard that was, for both of you. I also read your post about the sibling rivalry, and my-oh-my can I relate. Nora's only been talking for a few months and I'm already over the tattling; add 10 years and (maybe, someday?) another kid, and … oy again. Sending you lots of love and hoping for a good, restorative week—and then a very happy reunion—for everyone.

Mama Papaya said...

I know they say that it is what we are supposed to do. Teach them to fly. But it is hard sometimes. Really hard. You did good, mama.

Vivi said...

Oh boy...how hard is that?!?!? The camp sounds awesome. Can't wait for your boy to come home and tell you all about his awesome adventures. How cool that he was able to spend some one on one time with both mom and dad before he left...just to give him that extra assurance that he's loved. :)