Nearly two weeks ago, my husband and I dropped our son off at summer camp. This is his fifth year going to this camp, which is lovely and everything one would expect in a camp. It’s wooded. The campers sleep in cabins. There’s a lake, horseback riding, a pool, zip lining; so many activities, every child can find something that interests him or her, and, every year, I have a love/hate relationship with it.
I will admit that I look forward to him going to camp. I think of all the quiet time I’m going to have. I think of whatever my husband and I have planned to do together and look forward to romantic evenings. I remember that I will have two weeks without a single mention of the XBox or Minecraft.
Then, the two weeks are here and we drop him off. I have never cried when dropping him off, but I do get the feeling that I will. This year was especially difficult because in the couple of days before it was time to go, he insisted that he did not want to go. He was afraid of being homesick, especially at night. I knew that I had to put on my brave mommy face and remind him of all the fun he’ll be having. It helped that I mentally reminded myself of all the fun I would be having, too, but sometimes emotions don’t listen to logic.
The first night was hard. I found myself going into his room not only to feed his fish, but to stare at his empty bed.
Soon, though, I found myself in a new routine. My husband and I always do something wonderful while he is gone. Last year, we went to Las Vegas, This year, we opted for a romantic getaway to the Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain in Tucson. It was wonderful. I was able to go to the spa while my husband was golfing with no worries as to what we would do with our son while we were both doing our thing. I was able to sit at the pool and actually relax because I didn’t have to be a vigilant parent making sure my son didn’t drown. We were able to have a quiet, long dinner without interruptions. One evening, we ordered room service and watched a movie in our room, cuddling on the couch. I easily got to the point where I am loving this time with my son away.
Don’t get me wrong, I would never want to be permanently away from my son and I sometimes feel guilty for being happy he is away, but these two weeks do us both some good. It is wonderful to be able to be a wife only for a brief while, reveling in what made me fall in love with my husband in the first place. It is also good for our son. He is my only child. My baby. Is there a reason that mother and smother are so similar? Camp gives him independence and the freedoms and responsibilities that come with it. While it is structured, he chooses his own activities, what to eat, who to hang out with, what to wear, and is responsible for keeping his cabin and himself clean.
We are both making magical memories that will last us a lifetime, they just aren’t with each other, and as a mom with a son who is getting older, I know that is what is best. Yet, I can’t wait to pick him up tomorrow!