Have you ever found that the long winter months in Colorado can make you crazy? And right around the month of March, you go and make an impulsive plan for the summer just to help you cope, and then when summer comes, you realize you’ve made a huge error in judgment? Anyone? Or is it just me?
My house is eerily quiet. You don’t hear me say that often, but for this week, it’s true. Two of my three kids are off at camp. Yes, back in March when school projects and trips to Hobby Lobby were overtaking our lives, I decided we needed something totally fun to look forward to. I’d heard about Idrahaje—a camp in the mountains near Bailey, and decided this was the summer my kids experienced the great outdoors. Without me. Without their daddy. And now I can’t believe how stupid that was.
The decision to take Jack and Faith to camp was simple. I asked if they wanted to go, they said, “sure mom, whatever” and the decision was final. Will also asked to go, but being that he is seven, we said, “no way, not on your life”. At first he was mad to be stuck with me, but he soon began compiling a list called, “Will’s Week-O-Fun”. It has been displayed on the fridge for months, in order to make Jack and Faith jealous, and to remind me that we are going on a lot of outings, so I better plan accordingly.
The day to take them to camp finally arrived. We’d packed them up with everything the list required, and headed out the door. Both Jack and Faith were nervous, but seemed determined. Billy and I tried to talk it up like they were about to have the best week of their lives, and Will just kept asking, “how longs it gonna take to drop them off?”
As soon as they arrived we got them registered and found their respective cabins. We took Jack first, and his counselor came out to greet us and meet him. We found his bed and put all his stuff in the cabin and quickly realized this was “goodbye”. I tried to give him roller coaster knucks (we learned it from Modern Family) and hug him goodbye. However, he was embarrassed and told his counselor, “sorry for their behavior” while trying to shuffle us out the door. Billy managed to get a quick side hug out of Jack, while I just got an eye roll.
Faith was next. My sweet 9 year old little baby girl…we drove over to her cabin and carried her stuff in for her. Her counselor was bubbly and sweet and instantly I knew Faith would like her. We settled her in as well, and prepared for our goodbyes. At least she still hugs her mama. I could tell she was trying to be brave, so we didn’t draw it out, even though I really wanted to. I noticed Billy was mumbling under his breath, “okay, it’s okay. This is normal. This is what parents do every year, and this is normal”. I think it’s called something like“Positive self talk”.
As soon as we got in the car we drove back to Jack’s cabin to see if he was playing outside with the other kids yet. At first we didn’t see his red plaid shorts, so naturally we thought he’d been kidnapped. Then there he was in the crowd—he looked serious, but at least involved. And we knew he was going to be okay. We “forgot” to put something in Faith’s stuff too so we drove once again to her cabin and took a peek to make sure she was not sobbing for her mother. No, in fact she was out in the playground playing tetherball with a friend, and in my heart, I knew she was okay. I’m pretty sure she’d already lost her sweatshirt too.
We made the dreaded right turn out of the camp and began heading back home. All three of us had different responses, and without naming names, here’s how it went down: One of us began bawling like a baby, one of us kept saying, “stop! If you cry I’m gonna cry” and one of us was in the backseat cheering, “Time for the PARTY WEEK!!!” By the time we hit Conifer, we’d all settled down and tried to focus on what kind of comfort food we were going to have for dinner.
Will’s gone to bed with us every night so far. His excuse is that he can’t sleep without his brother in his room. Oddly enough that’s our excuse too. By midnight, Billy gathers up his 60+ lb frame and carries him off, so we can all sleep better. Last night we began the list of fun with a bar-b-que. We had good food, good friends, and a lot of laughter. Today we biked to Billy’s work, and came home by way of the fountains where we cooled off and had a snack. So far having Will all to myself has been good, with the exception of the conversation he begun with, “Mom, how do babies get out of the girl’s body?” That was a painful, and somewhat weird five minutes. Luckily I thought to distract him with candy.
By the time you read this, my home will be full again, brimming with noise. I’ll be hollering at three sweeties once again, to put their shoes away, make their beds, and brush their teeth. This week is different, and it feels weird. But it’s good and right, and my kids are learning a little bit more about who they are going to be in this big scary world. And we are learning how hard it is to let go.