Camp Blues

My baby boy left for camp this morning! I began having second (and third and fourth) thoughts about the whole sleepaway camp thing yesterday. Would Javi be able to carry his bags? Would he forget his towels in the bathhouse? Would he get enough to eat (because he has a habit of talking during his meals)? Would he make any friends? Would he be the only one without a buddy there?

Talking to Grandma on the way to the meeting point.

So imagine my concern when we pulled up to our county's meeting point this morning and there were no young kids. Like, none ... at all! The youngest child was almost 11. And here's my 8 year old. He was nervous and scared all morning (and has been very negative about the whole camp thing) ... and I knew when he scanned the crowd and saw none of "his people" that it'd hit him hard. It did. He was jittery and clingy as we gathered round the 4H coordinator and he mapped out the next hour.

We then all got back in our separate cars and caravaned to the county over to meet the bus. Our county only had maybe 10 campers, but the next county had more than 40! They graciously allowed our campers to ride out to the campground with them in a nice, cushy, air-conditioned motor coach. During the ride to the bus, Javi couldn't sit back and got into several mini-battles with Bella due to his inability to just relax.

The whole way we pep-talked him. He promised to try everything, to have a great attitude, to introduce himself to people instead of waiting for someone else to do it. But once we pulled into the 4H center lot where the bus was waiting ... we knew it was gonna be okay. There were tons of 8ish year old boys! I counted at least 4 just standing near us. Javi immediately perked up and was ready to roll.

The family waiting for the sign to load up on the bus.

We had to stand around for about 30 minutes or so, but then everyone started loading up and my child was not going to be left behind. We tracked down Billy and Bella (who were off keeping Bella entertained) and Javi gave quick, cursory hugs to both before pivoting on one heel and making a beeline for the bus. He almost looked like a man heading off for the gallows. I imagine he felt the ol' tug-o-war of excitement and fear in the pit of his stomach.

I made him wait for us to walk to the bus with him and then we hugged and loved on him before letting him board up. He was pretty much done with us at that point, as you can imagine! He waved quickly and then disappeared. We stood around a while longer in case he needed us, but then we made our way back to the car.

Javi gets kisses from Bella before he gets on the bus.

It's been weird ever since. Javi's slept over at friends' houses and at the grandparents' houses multiple times since he was a little boy, but there's something about knowing that he's off at camp doing camp things without someone specifically in charge of helping him. I know he has a counsellor, but it's just not the same as someone's mom or dad. Also, we can't contact him unless it's an emergency, so I'll have to wait until Friday to hear from him.

Going to camp for the first time is as hard on moms as it is kids! I know he'll be okay, though. And he's going to have an amazing time and never forget this experience. I'll be reminding myself of that all week!


  • Of Pandas and Pirates

    I'm definitely sure that he'll be missing you as much as you're missing him. I'm glad there were kids his age to make friends with! Can't wait to hear how much fun he had!!!

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