The past week and weekend have been a mix of emotions and thoughts for me, not only to do with the political state of our nation but also having to prepare and then send my 9 year old daughter off onto her first camp…….. alone…….. without us. Now understand that I have tried my darndest not to be a helicopter mom and give my child as much freedom socially as is possible, being homeschooled and all. We also don’t do sleep overs, for various obvious reasons and have made sure that with each milestone that our kids are completely ready to dive into it with the necessary tools to tackle any issue that they face. Anyway, with that being said – let’s just say that I was FREAKING OUT!!!!! I mean come on! Three days (ok two in total), two nights and far enough that an emergency would require extreme breaking of speed laws to get to her. We had made peace with the fact that she was going months ago when we signed her up, but guys – let me tell you, nothing and I mean NOTHING prepares you for the moment that you realize your child is slipping away and the pre-teen is walking through the door with confidence, opinions, points of view (which are often profound) and sass to turn even a laid back mom’s head. Yet, with this preteen that you so badly want to squash into a box and try to hide them from big bad uglies of peer pressure, big choices and boys – the proper parent thing to do is to let them go slowly but surely.
So, with the heart to do the right thing – I left her to check her packing list, add in the necessary extras. Teach her how to pack efficiently. How to roll up a duvet to fit into a pillow case, and how to roll sleeping bag. How to separate her dirty washing once she’s used it and how to roll it up and pack it back in at camp. As much as I’d love to leave her to run free with her beautiful mane of black curls, we tamed those puppies by plaiting them and making her life so much easier and quicker.
This being said – I’m enjoying this window of influence because, as I understand it from those that have gone before – this window is going to either stay slightly open or close completely and only open when she decides she wants to invite my influence in. (Praying for the best but preparing for the worst)
We get her to the camp site, she sets up and we hug, give kisses and say goodbye. Shoo! My heart sinks as we walk out of the room and drive away. I’ve experience this once before when we tried pre-school out when she was three. There were a lot more tears from her side back then but this was so different – in that I, wanted to have the “romantic movie” moment of teary hugs and selfies and prancing runs away from each other as she jumped into this experience alone. Nope – it was just like, “cheers mom, see you on Sunday”.
Well, the house was A LOT more calmer without her being with us. (It’s amazing that once you remove just one of the three – the play is so much simpler, calmer, loving and polite)
The weekend passed, I binged on as much “Chicago anything”, Grey’s, Fixer and silly reality shows as I could find, then Sunday arrived and we went to get our #growinguptoofast 9 year old.
She was packed exactly as she was taught (YES! #momvictory) ready to go and full of the most detail I’ve ever encountered from one little person. It was helpful to have eyes on the ground and so one of the leaders took pics to help us get an idea of what went down-she volunteered, I’m not that much of a helicopter mommy. (I kinda feel like I had a paparazzi following her around 😁)
All in all, it’s happened – she survived, we survived and I survived. The next one will be easier and have a lot less expectations attached in my head. (This is when I feel sorry for my second and third children – by the time they get to this stage I would have developed such a callous towards the whole experience. Remind me to cherish their moments as much as I’ve done so here)
I’d love to hear what it was like for you when you had to let go of a season in your life. Our experiences can teach us so much, chat to me so that we can learn from each other.