Summer camp is not for sissies. It requires a mental toughness, a fierce independence, and a quick adaptation to a different environment. One must be able to welcome the new, while loosening the grip on the old, with a sense of challenge and adventure towards the independent journey ahead. Camp is not for the weak, but a place of growth for the strong.
Which is why I was asked politely to leave.
My oldest son, Chase, is at summer camp for the first time. (As in OVERNIGHT, without his mom.)
I have been mentally preparing myself for the “drop-off” since the time my deposit cleared, and the precise moment I lost a little more of my mind. Leaving my nine-year-old son, unfortunately, happened just as I envisioned, only with more dramatics, more heartache and regret than even I could have imagined.
There was much crying and last minute hugging. Goodbyes were repeatedly spoken as if it would make the moment last longer. Arms were wrapped around legs in an effort to keep the other from leaving, tears flowing to the ground in a way that was almost embarrassing.
And then I was reprimanded, told to gather myself and release my grip from around the legs of my child.
Much to the chagrin of his mother, Chase embraced the send off with much maturity, much bravery, clearly demonstrating DNA from his paternal side. Smiling wide with pearly whites that won’t see a toothbrush for the next five days, my son joyfully reunited with his three closest friends from South Carolina in a moment that made my heart full and the ugly cry worthwhile.
The older my children become the more I accept that God expects me to hold them with open hands. They won’t always be under my care, my protection, my watch and I have to trust in the promise that He will be with them wherever they go.
Overnight camp is just another rite of passage towards independence and a painful reminder of how swiftly my time with my children is expiring. It is difficult not to cling to them with a grasp that dares to defy time, but I know that with each year that passes, my hold must loosen so that they can cling to Him instead.
But if Chase thinks he is going off to college, he’s got another thing coming.
Hunter, Chase, Wilson and Thomas reunited
Future campers: Powers, Chandler and Lane
The joy of friendship
We're searching for a drama camp for Mary Mac