WARNING: There are no books in this post. But I reference a short story that you may know from the movie, and there is a song at the end!
For at least the past two weeks, my daughter has been saying a couple of times a day, "I am kind of excited about summer camp, but I kinda don't want to go." I keep telling her "I know, you're conflicted, but you're going to go, and I think once you settle in you will love it. That's why we're sending you."
Then the past two days, as it drew even nearer, it was mostly, "I know I have to go to summer camp, but I wish I could stay home." Again, I simply agreed. Yes, you are nervous. Yes, you have to go anyway.
It's our first sleep-away camp. Our son will possibly never be ready for it (or rather, I can't imagine the underpaid teen counselor who will be ready for him), but my daughter, despite her well-earned separation anxiety, is more mellow. Plus, horses. I was so excited to find a horse camp we could afford, within a reasonable drive, and not completely skeevy, even if it is more bible-oriented than what we'd choose if money were no object. She was dancing with joy when I told her she could go, but got more and more nervous as the time approached.
I LOVED camp as a kid. Of course, I didn't have separation issues, my big sisters (and mom and grandma) had already filled my head with wonderful camp stories and camp songs, and I always went with a friend. I really do think she'll love it too. That is why we're sending her.
But what I didn't expect was how I felt as we drove away. No tears, but a huge rock in my chest and a pain in my gut. It reminded me of the scene in "Brokeback Mountain" where either Jack or Ennis (I suspect Ennis; he was always more repressed) vomits violently after saying goodbye to the other, and has no idea why his body is so freaked out. My body did NOT think I should be driving away from my sweet pea.
It will be a good week, I'm sure. Having only one kid to focus on--the one who struggles to get enough positive attention--will be great. Having some actual kid-free time when our son is at summer school in the afternoon should let me get some reading/writing/blogging done, and my husband and I have plans to go blackberry picking so he can make the port-style berry wine all of our friends and relatives adore. In the meantime, our daughter will be immersed in horses, and swimming, and stargazing, and campfire songs.
I just didn't realize that all those reassurances were for me as much as for her.
If my title makes no sense, I was alluding to the classic anti-camp song, "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah."
Fun fact: I once played in an orchestra that played "Dance of the Hours," which is where this tune comes from. Who knew?