This afternoon we are driving to New Hampshire to drop off our son at sleepaway camp for two weeks. This is his first experience at: a) at an overnight camp, and, b) away from us for more than a few days (and that was with grandma, who is a super fun, no-nag version of me).
He’s excited – three of his friends will also be at the same camp – but also a little apprehensive (“What if the other kids aren’t nice?”). To alleviate his anxiety, we’ve been talking up all the great stuff he’ll experience: Non-stop sports! Sleeping in bunks! Nights spent making s’mores around the campfire! Staying up late! So I think he’ll be in pretty good shape, but we won’t know until the camp trunk is out of the car and we say our goodbyes…I suspect there will be tears (probably mine, must remember to bring oversize shades).
I have similar feelings of excitement (He’s going to have a great experience!) and apprehension (What if no one tells him to brush along the gum line? Will they remind him to wash his hair in the shower? Do they do TICK CHECKS??). Friends who have been sending their children to sleepaway camp for years have assured me that he will come back a different kid – more independent and confident. And, being an only child, he will see what it’s like to live with other people and have to adapt to their habits and quirks. They tell me that he will be bonded to his new friends in a unique way and will plead to return to camp next year – this time for four weeks. Plus, they add, you’ll have two whole weeks CHILD FREE!
That last part leaves me a little stunned. Two weeks free of kid-free activities. Floors free of sports equipment, Lego blocks, and dirty socks. No arguments about video games, bed times, or violin practice. No lights left on in empty rooms, open doors when the air conditioning is running full blast, or finding “surprises” in the toilet when he forgot to flush. What the hell am I going to do with all that free time? Catch up on work, spend a little time with the hubs, and take-in a movie or two that doesn’t involve robots or animated characters…and probably miss my little guy like crazy.