The Homesick Parent: Summer Camp and the Lonely Mom
posted by: Catherine
Allow me to paint a picture of what my life is about to look like.
I will be able to go to the pool and bring a random assortment of trashy magazines to read at my leisure. No one will scream, “Mom! He just hit me!” from somewhere in the house the moment I sit down to go to the bathroom. I will be able to eat dinner at 8:00 PM if I want to and eat an Oreo on my couch without someone saying, “I thought you said not to do that.”
I won’t have to cut anyone’s meat or pancakes. I will be able to listen to whatever I want to in the car. I will be able to treat myself to a movie with bad words and not have to get up once to take someone else to the bathroom.
And how is all of this possible, you ask?
Because my kids are going to camp for two weeks.
Two weeks. That is the longest stretch of time I have ever been separated from my three children in my life. For the last twelve years, they have been my sole concern and focus, every moment of every day pretty much consumed with their schedules and overall well-being. But for two whole weeks this summer, I will be footloose and kid-free.
And it’s starting to make me nervous.
I have been counting down the months, weeks, and now days until I drop my kids off at camp – just as they have. They can’t wait to swim, go horseback riding, meet some new kids, and generally get dirty without someone nagging them every moment of the day.
And I have been looking forward to a couple of weeks without anyone to nag.
But as we get closer and closer to that day, and each one of my kids goes through their own small stage of jitters about being away from home for two weeks…I’d be lying if I didn’t fess up and say that I’m a little nervous, too.
I remember going to camp when I was a kid and being anxious about leaving the sanctuary of my room, all of my stuffed animals, and generally the comforts of home for a while. Even though the moment I rolled out my sleeping bag on my bunk, I was in so much perpetual motion I didn’t really have time to miss home…those weeks leading up to leaving were always filled with a little worry.
As adults we are wise enough to know that “home” has very little to do with a place or possessions – it’s all about the people we consider our home base. Because we’ve figured out that no matter where we go or what we go through, as long as we have those people around us…we’re home.
So, in a sense, my “home” is leaving me for a couple of weeks.
Now I know that once I actually drop them off, the kids and I will all go through much the same thing: We will be nervous driving up there. Our hearts will skip a small beat when we wave good-bye to each other. And then we will all have so much fun doing our own things, the time will fly and the next thing you know I’ll be hauling those footlockers back down the mountain.
So, in the weeks leading up to their departure, when my son gets that look of doubt in his eyes for just a moment or my daughter comes into my bedroom clutching her security blanket and says, “Mom. I’m a little scared about leaving,” I’ll have a smile on my face and reassure us all that we’re going to have a great time.
All the while I’m thinking, “I’m kinda nervous, too.”
Catherine Tidd is the author of “CONFESSIONS OF A MEDIOCRE WIDOW” and the owner of www.theWiddahood.com. She is a mother who always tries to find humor in distressing situations and continues to write so that she can keep telling her kids that she’s busy and they need to get their own snacks. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.