In the last few weeks of summer, we finally got to the peak of summer experiences: camp. We had already gone biking, played basketball, soccer, and foursquare, read books in the hammock, stargazed, gotten bites from mosquitos, gone to the zoo, spent time at the cabin, and pretty much worn out our swim suits. We had saved the pinnacle of summer for the last portion, and the build-up had reached a fevered pitch.
We sent out oldest to his first full week at overnight summer camp. For the first time we sent our youngest to spend each day at a day camp. And our middle child got to have a few special activities since he was put on a waiting list for overnight camp but didn’t get in, poor guy.
We had already expanded our “trust circle” this summer to include people caring for our kids all day one day since I took my first outside job in 10 years. That was challenging enough. But sending two out of three to be in the care of someone else (and one of them for night time to be in the care of someone we had not screened and who was probably someone with no children of his own! What does he know about looking out for our child?! What are his qualifications — that he tells a good campfire story or roasts a good marshmallow?!) required some serious trust work.
I didn’t intend to become a protective parent. There are probably some who think I’m not protective enough. I mean, I let the kids climb trees and hammer nails and walk the dog outside alone. My husband and I are very choosey about the kids’ media intake, and some of that was informed by the kids’ own sensitivities. Have you ever tried turning down the sound for intense parts of kids shows/movies? We couldn’t understand why the kids didn’t like certain kids shows when they were younger and it turned out that the music used to “heighten the scene” made the kids stressed out — shows are way less intense without the soundtrack.
As they get older, there are things they’re going to have to do alone. I get that, I truly do. And I trust them (mostly) to make good choices and think before they act (mostly).
Two of the three went away for at least a day at a time. It went smoothly and they had a great time. They were able to make new friendships and create memories that they’ll have into the future. They expanded their base of experience and see the world just a bit larger now than they did before. These are good things.
So as we prepare for school to start, why does it feel like I’m sending them out to battle giants with only plastic swords?
This is a post for Five Minute Friday, hosted by Kate Motaung, which I’m only getting to today. Five Minute Sunday? Doesn’t have the same ring to it. Search Five Minute Friday or go to Kate Motaung’s blog for the collection of everyone’s links, which are a variety of perspectives on the word “alone”. Thanks for reading today!