When I was growing up, there were camp girls and not-camp girls.
I was a camp girl.
And of the camp girls, there were mountain camp girls and seaside camp girls.
I was a mountain camp girl.
I went to camp for eight summers in a row. One year, I came in last place in the Horse Show. One year, I was chief of the Tuscarora tribe. One year, I threw up after the pie eating contest. One year, I was chief of the Pow Wow. One year, I bellyflopped into the freezing cold lake. One year, I was Spirit of Yonahlossee. And then one year, my camp was gone.
So, not only was I a camp girl, I was THAT camp girl. And honestly, if my camp were still open, I would be there still.
Tomorrow, my boys are going to camp. To mountain camp. With the sons of the girls I went to camp with. And I am overcome with joy, excitement, love and pride.
For me, I am overcome with fear: I will miss them, I will worry, I will cry, I will be hysterical, I will not survive, I will cease to breathe, I will cease to exist.
They will be fine.
I will be a wreck.
And that’s okay.
It’s time for them to have experiences that have nothing to do with me. And in this era of obsessive, helicopter parenting, this seems like a crazy idea to some people. But to me, the camp girl, I love them so much that I will let them go, so they can have the incredible, life–changing experiences I had at camp. Of freedom and responsibility. Of going somewhere new and figuring it all out. Of success and failure. Of making friendships that will last a lifetime. I know they will grow more and learn more from two weeks away from me than they will from another two weeks right by my side. I know, because it happened to me.
So I will take them to camp tomorrow, and they will begin their adventure. And after my tribe of now-grown camp girls and our camp-girl husbands laugh and cry and hug each other, I’ll begin my own adventure. First, a week alone with my husband. And then a week alone with just me.
And I will be fine.
And I will be a wreck.
And that’s okay.