His little brother and I drove him to camp, and checked him in, and helped him set up his bunk. (In perhaps my most helicoptery moment of parenting EVER I climbed up into his top bunk to put his fitted sheet on the mattress, realized what I was doing, and told him it was the only time it would ever happen.) We watched him choose his camp name, and I gave him money to put into the camp bank, and I offered to buy him some chocolate. And then we went back to his cabin, and I asked if he wanted us to stay the last hour until the drop-off limit, and he said, “No.” So we hugged him and left.
I let go and he didn’t have to push me away. I didn’t hold on so tightly that he couldn’t get momentum as he ran away.
But I did wonder what would happen when I picked him up. Would he still be my kid? Or would he have crossed the border into tweenhood? Would he hug me and say he was so glad to see me, or would he give me the “‘sup?” nod and keep talking to his new friends? Would this experience have been good for him in a way that made him closer to me, or good for him in a way that took him farther away?
I thought about it the whole week, wondering. Not worrying, because there wasn’t anything I could do about it. But wondering, and prepping myself for however he reacted when he saw me.
It turns out, though, that I wasn’t expecting what actually happened: He walked right up to his brother and me, hugged his little brother fiercely, and said, “I’ll admit that I missed you.”
Then he hugged me, and said, “Boy, do I have a lot of stuff to tell you.”
And he spent the entire car ride home telling me what happened during that week.
He wants to go back next year. So do I.
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