We dropped #1 and #2 off at two weeks of sleepover camp yesterday. This is a first for them -- and for us. We've never been away from the little darlings for any time of length. #3 is still home with us, but he's scheduled to go to daycamp. It's going to be far too quiet at home.
Mia has been worrying about this camp since we made the plans in February. On the night before she left, she had a pit in her stomach and shed a few anxiety tears. Of course. I gave her a big pep talk about what a great experience it will be for her to be the master of her own domain for a couple weeks. Choosing her own food, activities, clothing, and so on without her parents hovering over her or telling her what to do. Her response:
"Most kids talk about how much they don't like their parents, but I want you to hover over me."
We made the decision to try sleepover camp for a couple of reasons. We thought it would be good for our high-anxiety daughter to see that she can survive away from home. We wanted the kids to get that classic, singular summer camp experience about which others speak so fondly. And Will was excited that the camp offered archery.
The camp is actually packed with activities, so they should have no trouble keeping busy. Having been around for 102 years, it seems like a traditional program, with "colors" in the morning, taps in the evening, and cabin chores. Interestingly, it's also a "technology free" zone, so no iPods, cell phones, and the like. The kids also can't make phone calls (i.e. "come get me" calls) home, and I can't call them. I suspect this is to keep the homesickness--and from-homesickness--in check.
So here's where Mia will sleep for the next 13 nights:
And here's Will's cabin:
Drop off yesterday went fairly well. Mia welled up and tried to attach herself to my hip. But we made the break, and getting into the car, Max broke up the melancholy with this:
"Well, looks like I'm the only one now."
He apparently wasn't too broken up about leaving his brother and sister. Husband and I, on the other hand, were a little stunned by the experience. We spend today guessing what the kids might be doing every hour. I've already sent postcards, and Max wrote a couple more out this evening. While I'm planning that the hole will fill itself up with all the projects I haven't had time for all summer, 13 days feels like a long stretch right now.
But hey. I've already found some time to blog -- a luxury given the chaos of our summer. The dogs also got a walk yesterday, and I got in a swim this morning. So maybe this camp thing will work out for everyone after all. Stay tuned.