Sending your ten year old off to sleep away camp for the first time is rather comparable to a new pregnancy. After all, everyone has advice both good and bad, most people think they know more than you, and anticipation, doubt and nervousness are the emotions du jour. Throw in weight gain, breakouts, sleeplessness and lethargy, and I could be pregnant, or I’m just reacting to a difficult transition (trust me…it’s option #2. Option #1 would be a very different blog post).
It’s funny, some people tell me to get over it, “relax, she’s going to have a great time,” or “it’ll be good for her,” while others look at me as if I sold her to a band of gypsies along the side of the road. Then, there are the ones who tell me what a brave mom I am, and that if I can cope with this, it will make for a seamless college experience AHHHHHHHHHHH!! College? I’m still wondering who’s going to detangle her hair at camp, or tell her that a 5th bowl of cereal is probably not a good thing, or that wearing flip flops all day is really bad for her feet, or to reapply sunscreen frequently, or that Laffy Taffy will unhinge the sealants on her back teeth…WHO WILL TELL HER? No one…she has to resort to her own good judgment…sigh. I’m screwed.
It’s not even so much that she has to make these independent decisions without me; it’s that I can’t talk to her and I think that is what frustrates me the most. I have heard that child’s voice for ten- years, from a lusty newborn cry, to her first words, to a chattering, loquacious pre-tween, and now…silence. So, I impatiently wait for a long awaited letter and I stalk the camp photo gallery online trying to gauge how she’s feeling from a snapshot. I analyze it carefully and ask questions like, why does she have a band-aid on? Why isn’t she smiling? Who is that girl that is always next to her? Why is she eating froot loops? (she knows how I feel about them; I mean they aren’t even spelled right, f-r-o-o-t, that’s because real fruit gets insulted when they use the correct spelling).
The computer is always on now, and I check it, albeit rather frequently. No, I am not proud of my stalker like behavior and my mood is affected daily by the way she appears in a given picture. Today’s pic was great. She was smiling, surrounded by a posse of girls and she was wearing an old Disney princess sweatshirt which actually spoke volumes to me. She never, ever wears that sweatshirt, even on the coldest winter days because it’s too babyish. I packed it along with other warm attire in her duffle anyway because it’s cold in the mornings at camp. The fact that she had it on is a signal that she is comfortable enough with her bunkmates, environment and herself to wear it. She seems to be in her element…wish I could say the same.