Monday, June 30, 2008

Leaving for Camp

Pardon me if I’m walking a little funny today. Or if my typing is off. Or if I don’t hear you correctly.

I feel like I’m missing an appendage or two.

You see, my littlest girl left for camp this morning. I never do very well on the first day that my kids leave for camp. It’s like learning how to be myself again—myself without feet . . . or hands . . . or ears.

Of course, it could have something to do with the 6:30 a.m. drop off time.

Doesn’t anyone leave around 10?

We met the bus at the appointed time in the appointed place. Maggie’s best-friend-since-they-were-one was already there, having staked out two seats on the bus, her blue eyes shining brightly even at that hour, her small hands quickly waving us over toward the bus. The girls greeted each other with excited hugs and quickly placed Maggie’s pillow on the chosen seat.

Apparently, according to Abby, who has gone to this same camp for the past four years, the girls should (and did) grab seats near the front of the bus because later, when they stop for lunch, they will be near the front of the line at McDonalds. If they sat at the back of the bus they might have to wait an hour, behind all the boys ordering five apple pies for lunch. Horrors.

It’s only fitting that these two go to camp together—they have been celebrating “firsts” for nearly their entire lives together. First day at school . . . together. First sleepover . . . together. First time riding bikes to the library alone . . . together.

I’m glad they’re together for this first, too. In many ways they are closer than sisters, knowing more secrets about one another than sisters sometimes do, but that also comes with its responsibilities—the responsibility to tell one another when they are out of line which, along with brutal honesty (those two are very good at the brutal honesty thing!) comes some fighting. Well, maybe not out-and-out fighting, but some definite irritation that will involve a fair amount of whining, a bit of gloating, and no small amount of pouting. I’ve known these girls a LONG time.

Still, it will be nice for both of them to take this step with each other. It’s kind of a biggie.

So I got Maggie safely settled into her seat on the bus. Well, let’s be honest, Maggie got herself settled into her seat on the bus. I didn’t have anything to do with it. I proudly, some might say smugly, announced to my friend, Amy, this morning that in the six, now seven, years I’ve been sending kids to camp I have never been one of THOSE parents who get on and off the bus just to make sure their kids are O.K. Not me, boy. And I wasn’t about to start now. Just because it’s my baby.

And she’s going off to camp.

For two weeks.

My resolve held out, and I did not step on that bus. But that didn’t stop me from going around the side of the bus to the girls’ window to wave and blow kisses like a crazy woman.

The time finally came for us to leave—me and the one child I still have left at home! After the kids were neatly tucked away on their bus seats (some parents having gotten on and off the bus just a few too many times) and the parents had stood in a circle and said the obligatory prayer for safety, Abby and I turned to the car and drove home. Quietly. Thinking about our youngest family member who was taking probably the largest step of her life.

The morning didn’t go quite as I had planned. I’d do a little something, then feel this incredible urge to sit down. Walk the dog . . . sit down. Clean up the kitchen . . . sit down. Take a shower . . . I definitely need to sit down. It was finally 11:15 before I was ready for the day.

The afternoon dragged on, and neither Abby nor I could figure out what to do since it was just the two of us--we both felt out of sorts. We did a couple of errands, and then just came home.

We’re off kilter here. We’re missing our girls, both of them, like we would miss our hands or our feet if they were suddenly cut off. It’s all just too much.

I think I’ll sit a while.

1 comment:

  1. A preview of the next season of life. Will you be ready?