This whole growing up and aging thing is freaking weird.
At the school in our town, every year the 6th grade class goes away to camp. Seniors from high school get to be counselors and the kids get to repel, canoe, hike, and learn to rough it. One night the parents come visit camp and the kids put on skits and they get to show us their “digs”.
It’s a rite of passage in our town. Everyone knows about camp and everyone has great memories of the time there. Every 6th grader wants to grow up and be a counselor when they are a senior in high school.
As a senior you have to apply and be picked by your teachers to be a counselor. Rambo went as a senior and so did I. No – Rambo wasn’t picked by his teachers….not by any means. Other senior boys were picked and they got caught drinking so Rambo was second choice.
We laugh about it now.
I’ll never forget when Rambo was away at camp as a senior counselor and I was left at school without him as a junior….and he sent me a dozen roses every day that he was gone.
Anyway – today Watermelon left for camp. Last night she told me she was 50% nervous and 50% excited. She’s a home-body for sure. If we don’t see her in 24 hours – she starts to miss us pretty badly. Me, Rambo, Banana – even stuff like her things and her room.
She’s been away before but not this long.
I remember a lot of the girls at camp got homesick - including me - …and I wonder how Watermelon will do.
She hugged all 3 of us a lot last night. A lot a lot a lot.
I made sure to stay upbeat and happy and excited for her. She kept saying she’d miss us and I’d say right back “we’ll see you for skit night so don’t worry”.
Inside – I felt the oddest twinge….that I ignored.
See I’m not an emotional parent in front of my kids. I’m a goofy ass. Like I break out in the chicken dance randomly or start belting out my favorite song on the way to school in the mornings. I’m not sad often or scared often about them or in front of them so my kids mostly see me being goofy with them or Rambo.
This whole “OMG – my kid is going away to camp and I’m getting old and this is a huge milestone” feeling and all those kinds of things that kept running through my head – suck grasshopper dicks.
I don’t like how it feels.
This morning as we got ready, Banana sat in Watermelon’s room just chatting. About camp and what happens there and I heard Watermelon say to Banana that she could sleep in her bed while she was away if Banana wanted to. I know Banana will. She will sleep in Watermelon’s bed and she will most likely wear something of Watermelon’s too. She’ll miss her bad.
When Watermelon hugged her goodbye – Banana cried.
Big, fat, silent, eyes pleading please don’t go sissy tears.
Watermelon walked out and yelled, “Don’t forget to sleep in my bed, ok?”
We were almost to the car before Watermelon said, “Mom. I gotta go back and hug Banana one more time, ok?”
Before we left home the first time, Watermelon saw that Rambo had written a message on the fridge white board for her. It said, “Be careful and have fun. I love you and I’ll miss you.”
She just smiled. He couldn’t hug her at 4am when he left so he wrote her a note.
They aren’t allowed to take any electronics so no phone or ipod or anything. She’s probably fine but not knowing how she is or what she’s feeling or having any contact with her is really hard. Like I feel like someone cut off my left arm. She usually texts me all day long even if it’s just to say, “Hey Mom – I’m eating lunch!”
I dropped her off at school and got out her 3 large filled to the top bags (that’s my girl!) and I hugged M who was standing there first. I silently hoped to God that her parents show up for her for skit night.
Then I hugged Watermelon. She threw herself into my arms and turned her head into my chest and held on tight for a few minutes. I told her I loved her and would see her for skit night and she never looked at me.
She said, “Goodbye Mom” with her eyes down and walked over by M.
She didn’t cry. I know because I drove away and looked back and she was smiling with M.
She’s stronger than I was back then.
I cried when I left my mom and I cried at skit night when I saw her again.
Score one for me – my kid is stronger than I was. That’s what I’ve always wanted for her.
Me? Well – screw strong. If I want to miss my kid and be sad that she’s not everywhere I turn and I can’t even hear her little voice or see her texts or hear her in her room – well dammit – I will.
I got into bed last night with Rambo and I laid there and I said, “I’m going to miss her so much.”
He just said, “I know. It’ll be okay.”
Yah. I know. But still. My heart hurts already. What the hell am I gonna do when she goes to college or gets married? I never thought I’d feel this way. I’m too selfish and need and love ME time too much to feel this way!?
Skit night can’t come fast enough. I can hardly function with my left arm cut off, you know?
I just keep focusing on when I get to pick her up to come home. It’ll be a great reunion. Bliss. About as good as going to a football game with Jesus Christ and sharing nachos with him.
Yes – that good...for realz.