To Sleepaway Camp or Not
By Guest Blogger Leslie Mitchell
My daughter will be 9 by summer. She’s been in day camp since she was four years old because I was a full time working mom and I didn’t want her sitting around watching TV and DVDs all summer while her nanny talked on the phone. She loved it and I have to admit that I dreamed a time would come and she would go to sleepaway camp and I, selfishly would have some time to myself. I thought that would come around 10 or 11 years old because I was sure she wasn’t ready and I wasn’t ready to let her go. Of course the best part of all this internal mom debate with myself was that I NEVER went to sleepaway camp, I was glued to my mom and day camp was as far as I would go until I left for college at 18!
So imagine my shock when I mentioned to her last month that her best friend was leaving Florida this summer to go to sleepaway camp with her older siblings for three weeks. I said it very casually, “Did you know Kate’s going to sleepaway camp for three weeks?” I expected to hear, “No way, I’m not going,” so you can imagine my surprise when she said ever so nonchalantly, “Okay, I’ll go.” I was almost speechless (and I’m never speechless.) I told her mommy won’t be there, I can’t cook for you if you don’t like the meals (she’s a very fussy eater) and she said, “Mom, I’m taking Fun Chefs at school so I’m ready to go.” Again, almost speechless. Who was this 8 year old? Why wasn’t she saying I’ll never leave you mom?
When I was her age I would have never had the guts to go from Florida to Pennsylvania without out my mom for three weeks. She is so excited to go and looks at the camp video and website and tells me all she is going to do. I’m excited for her and tell her she is going to have a blast.
Then how come when I read their bunks would be made for them the day they arrived I started to cry, someone else making my baby’s bed? This from the mom who wanted some “free” time? I’m so proud of her strength, I hope that I can be strong when I deliver her to the camp bus because if I cried reading about bunks, what will I be like knowing I won’t see her for three weeks. Hopefully HER strength will make me let her stretch her wings. I just wasn’t ready for it to happen so fast.