Even after much coaxing and encouraging and a tour of the woodsy, lakeside spread with its cabins and arts & crafts building and basketball courts and archery area, our 11-yr-old son was left unimpressed and something less than wishy-washy about going to summer camp.
Until a few days ago. Then he was all gung-ho about it and wondering when he would leave.
I said no. I told him there is some amount of preparation that needs to be done when a family sends a child off to summer camp, and those preparations could not be done in a matter of three days. He had plenty of time to make a decision when we discussed it three weeks ago. He had said he wasn't really interested, so the subject was dropped. This would become a teachable moment about planning and deadlines and decision making.
At least I thought so.
But what do I know?
The kid mentioned his plight to his uncle who happens to have a friend who happens to manage a nearby co-ed youth camp with his wife. The missus says, as luck would have it, there is plenty of room for another kiddo. The more the merrier.
So Sam, who has been drowning in a sea of estrogen lately, has been rescued. He has been needing some boy time, and that's a major reason why I changed my mind. Also, I went to camp myself as a child and I had so much fun and made such great memories, I couldn't deny my son of that opportunity.
I dropped Sam off at camp this afternoon. He will be there until Saturday morning.
Once we got his gear to his cabin it took him about 30 seconds to give me that look that says "OK I'm fine. Please leave." He wouldn't even let me take a picture of him. I suppose I could have taken one when Sam was invited to join in on a heated game of Stump Ball, but I decided that would be a good time for me to make my exit. I was so glad he recognized two friends from school and was quickly accepted into the group.
As I walked back to the truck alone, I turned to look back at the gathering of kids. This is my only son's first experience at summer camp and I wanted this moment to be imprinted on my mind. Sam was already into the game and he had a big ol' grin on his face. I could see this, even though Sam wasn't watching me leave and wouldn't have noticed if I had stopped to wave (I didn't) or was crying my eyes out (I wasn't) or ran to get out of there as fast as I could (not a chance).
As far as he was concerned I was already gone. I'm OK with that. I really am. A moment like that sure makes a mama have a very reflective day, though.
My little boy is growing up. Does it hurt? Nah. But it doesn't mean I don't already miss him.