But to me, that’s just joking. No mom in her right mind ever feels normal again until little Johnny or Janie is back home, tucked into his or her bed at night, and we breathe a sigh of relief.
This morning I put Maggie on a bus to camp, a bittersweet proposition at best. I know she will have a great time stomping around in the woods, eating I-won’t-know-what, maybe even getting her clothes really wet and loving it. She’ll make new friends, some that will last a lifetime. And she’ll learn a little more about the One who created the big, beautiful world she’s stomping around in.
But there’s a part of me—a big part of me—that just doesn’t feel settled when my kids are away. I think that’s entirely normal. They are, after all, a part of us, and when they’re gone it feels like a part of us is missing.
(Just as an aside and because I’m soon sending one off to college, I wonder if that feeling ever goes away.)
This morning as I was sending Maggie off, putting her on a bus to begin adventures of her own, I was more excited for her than I was sad for me, but that hasn’t always been the case. I remembered, as I watched one sobbing, red-eyed mother put her sobbing, red-eyed son on the bus, that the first time I sent a child to camp I was in her shoes. I was scared. I was nervous. I didn’t want to let go.
And I cried. Oh boy, did I cry. Not so much in front of her like this mom did this morning, but after I got home and throughout much of that first day, I cried.
Now, almost 10 years later, I want to hug that precious mom who loves her boy so much and tell her it will be alright.
It will be alright because time has to move on. Your boy has to grow, and this may be the first step toward a secure and positive future for him.
It will be alright because he will change, and the changes you’ll see in him will be good.
And it will be alright because no matter what happens to him, he is in the care of the One who made him and who loves him more than you and your breaking heart do.
It’s camp time of year. I could say a lot about that, but I won’t right now. For now I’ll just say to that mom who has a hard time letting go, just do it. You’ll be better for it, and so will he.