Monday, July 25, 2016

Hello Muddah

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?


  1. Aww, I hope she has fun at camp. I would have loved horse camp when I was a kid, but my parents probably couldn’t afford it. I did go to Girl Scout camp a bunch of times. I kinda hated it because I had bad anxiety issues, which made it hard for me to sleep in a room with a bunch of other people. Every tiny noise woke me up. I barely got any sleep, and then I was cranky.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  2. I hope she has a fantastic time at camp and you have a great kid-free and single kid time. I know just how you're feeling. The first time I dropped my youngest off at preschool I absolutely lost it as soon as he was out of sight. Of course he had a wonderful time and I adjusted pretty quickly but it just didn't seem right! Same goes for leaving the older kids at college. Your whole body is screaming you shouldn't be doing this. That song always makes me giggle. I hope your daughter's time is way more fun.


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