Bye-Bye Baby

“Ya gonna miss me mom?”
My son questioned me as I was assembling toiletries kits for summer camp. Adorable travel-sized shampoos and toothpaste..brand new toothbrushes…what 13 and 15 year old boy wouldn’t be ecstatic at my half-hour presentation on the contents of their kits and the proper application of the three different sunscreens I supplied? Mouthwash…even made myself chuckle at that one.
Tomorrow is the big day, they’re shipping out..well, truthfully, they are being hand delivered by their parents to their cabins on a beautiful waterfront camp, where they will enjoy a week that I could have only dreamed of as a child. Much of their week will be spent on sailboats and water skis. Gah, I was happy when my Dad agreed to let us turn on the hose. wrap a rubber band around the handle, and place a brick on top of it..and “voila!” a sprinkler was born!
Truthfully, I am happy that they want to return to this wonderful place summer after summer and attempt things that are not in their normal life..especially since air conditioning is not part of the experience..which is the only part of their camp memories that I can relate to, as I spent most of my childhood summers sticking to my sheets.
“I’m gonna miss you Mom”
Oh, right..I was going to talk about missing my kids. A few years ago I was completely wrecked dropping them off at camp. Leaving my son alone in a strange place with strangers was agony. I cried all the way home and received messages of support from other Moms for the entire trip home. I emailed my boys every day..the only form of communication.a letter delivered to them, of which they could not respond..no phones, no computers, no pigeons..nada. An ax to the apron strings. Heart wrenching. I had hugged them goodnight nearly every night of their lives up to that point..how would they survive? They wouldn’t.
They did. They loved it..and it got easier every year for me.
Summer camp for kids is a boot camp in “letting go” for parents. Every time they go and return with most, er, some of the things they left with, it is a small emotional victory for everyone. It makes the fuzzy college- bound kid of the future come into focus a little more. My boys are going to leave me sooner rather than later and they will survive. I am slowly starting to let go.

Sort of.

I can’t explain why whenever I open my tea towel drawer in the kitchen and see that baby bib shoved in the back, why I can’t toss it in the donation bag. I fed you your first cereal and applesauce in that bib.

Yes, my heart, I will miss you. I already miss you.

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