Monday, August 10, 2015
Kid goes to camp, kid may never want to come home
So you send your kid off to sleepaway camp. He's been to one before, but it's a new camp and it lasts for longer than he's used to. He was really psyched to go and he's generally gotten more independent but still, you're a little concerned about how he'll do. You even tell the camp director you're not sure you should call him weekly because you don't want him to get upset by the sound of your voice.
When you drop him off, he's excited and not the least bit upset to say goodbye. You have trouble letting go when you hug. As you walk to the car, you keep turning around to look at him walking off with his counselor; he keeps turning around, too, and you keep doing that till you can't see him anymore and you feel really, really sad.
On day 2, you text the camp director see how he is doing. The camp director calls. Uh-oh. Actually, your kid is content but he doesn't want to do any of the activities, he just wants to walk around. She asks if you think he's just getting the lay of the land. Ummm.... You're not sure what's up because sometimes he just likes to do his own thing but you agree, he's exploring.
And the next thing you know, you see photos of your kid looking nothing less than ecstatic—playing with other kids, bowling with giant plastic pins and a giant plastic ball in the hockey rink, driving a golf cart, at an amusement park. In his ever-present Fire Chief hat, of course.
Then one morning your cell phone rings and it's a number you don't know and you pick up and it's a counselor saying that your son, Max, would like to say hello to you. In the background you hear, "No, Ire-ahn Ax!" And then:
And your heart does flip-flops and you say, "Hi, Fireman Max!" And he tells you the activities he's been up to and that he's playing with kids and eating lots of pasta and cheese. He says something you don't understand and he says it again and again and still you don't get it and you feel awful. But he types it out on his speech app for his counselor, who relays that they saw the movie Big Hero 6.
And you say, "Oh, you love that movie, it's so funny!"
"Eee-yah!" he says.
"Are you having so much fun?" you ask.
And he says, "Eee-yah!" And then, he's got places to go and things to do and he says, "Eye, ohmmy! I uh ooooh!"
"I love you, Fireman Max!" you tell him.
And he hands the phone back to the counselor.
Your boy. At camp. Having the time of his life, without you.
Top image: Flickr/Peter Blanchard
Posted by Ellen Seidman at 6:35 AM