I must admit, I was always way to chicken to spend the night away from my parents until I was about 15 or 16 years old. I would give it a try and then about midnight when the crank calling boys was over and the parents had called for lights out, I would get "sick". The gotta call my mom to come get me kinda sick! Bless my mother, she always did no matter how far or how late/early am it was. I never could go to spend the night camp because I suffered from the "only child gotta be with my parents homesickness". I did not want this for my boys. They have been allowed to spend the night away from an early age. Gage from time to time will get a touch of my sickness but Davis...never! But when Ward and I suggested they think about a starter camp where they would spend the night for a week this summer they were ready to pack and it was only September! We chose a camp that is an all boy camp, that offered a wide range of activities as well as a range of camp options. It also happened to be a camp that I grew up hearing about and having friends attend the all girl sister camp. (Not me though, ya know, homesickness!!)
We work hard to allow our boys to experience many things in life. As parents we both want them to enjoy the chance to do things without us hovering over them. And I will freely admit that in September...I too was excited. But the closer we got to June 11th - the more scared I got.
The wake.up.at.3am.with.the.WHATIFS!!! kinda scared.
The entire week before camp I did not sleep.
During the day I rushed around to purchase items on their packing list, address envelopes for them to write to family and friends, make sure they had the right fans, sheets, towels, toothbrushes etc...
I was inches away from pure insanity,
even joking with my good friend who is also my family DOC that I was going to need to spend the week medicated.
And then at night I would wake up... with my whatif's
Davis doesn't eat (He doesn't at home why would he at camp?)
an adult doesn't go down the zip line first each day?
Gage forgets to wear shower shoes?
Davis picks his nose and starts a boogie collection on his bunk.
WHAT IF WHAT IF...
What if...they go away and have the time of their life.
I have been reading a book by a Christian author 5 Conversations you need to have with your son. One of the focus points is helicopter parenting - I realized this was my chance to step back and give our boys a chance to put into place and act upon some of the principle that we have been teaching them. And what a better place to do it than at a Christian camp that has been in existence since the early 1940's. They have dealt with far more whatifs that I could ever imagine, even at 3 am.
When it came time to drop the boys off Sunday am I felt an amazing peace. This camp knows it's stuff. While I unpacked Davis and got his stuff situated Ward took G to his cabin (so that he'd be able to get a top bunk!!). Within 5 minutes of me unpacking D he had taken off with some of his cabin mates. Only to track us down at Gage's bunk to tell us goodbye and that he was heading off to go sailing.
Gage took his time helping us unpack and in making his "top" bunk. He had met one of his cabin mates the night before at the meet and greet, which was really nice. Some of his other cabin mates were from New York, Virgina, and North Carolina. Then soon after he was unpacked he took off to go play basketball.
I quickly realized that while my boys may miss us, and while they may forget their shower shoes, start a new booger collection, and even fail to brush their teeth, they will have the time of their life. And that when I go to pick them up this weekend, all of us will be just a little bit more mature!