I *Know* He'll Have Fun, But That Doesn't Mean I Will

We dropped Micah off at camp this evening. It may be both the longest and shortest 3 days of my entire life this week.

Camp Parc is for those with mental handicaps, so they can enjoy a week of camp with their peers. It's an awesome little place just 2 miles from our house, but don't let the backwoods location fool you - it's adult camp week draws nearly 100 campers from far and wide. They've only been doing mini camp for 3 years now, and there are 15 other campers there this week along with Micah. Mini camp is for campers under the age of 18, and each camper is assigned both a personal counselor and a peer buddy (someone close Micah's own age to be his personal best friend for the week) and they even sleep on either side of him in the cabin. He'll be treated like a king with all the special attention, which is super awesome.

And yet, I worry, because I'm his mom.

Because he can't talk to say that he misses his family and wants to go home.

Because he knows about 3 people there in the whole camp, and he's surrounded by strangers.

Because he's never stayed overnight anywhere except grandparents houses without us.

Because I'm his mom, and what kind of mom would I be if I didn't worry needlessly for my son?

I asked Sam what he thought of the camp before sending in the application. Was it a good idea? Should we wait a year or two? Sam, in his wisdom, said that we can't keep him a baby forever.

I agree. I said I didn't like it, but I agree.

And despite my reservation, I told myself that he'd be just fine and would have a wonderful time at camp. I was assured by both camp staff and seasoned parents that all kids love camp week. I believe them. And yet, Micah most certainly did not want us to leave. In fact, when he realized that we were going to make him stay, he tried locking himself in the van. He wouldn't let us out of his sight.

I told him that he was going to get to sleep there with his new friends, and they were swimming and doing crafts and playing games, and we'd be back after a while to get him. He'd have so much fun.

But he wasn't buying it.

I heard him crying the whole way back to the van, and my mom's heart just wanted to run back and say, "I've made a mistake! My baby isn't ready to grow up, isn't it obvious? I'm taking him home with me." But insteaad, I drove off.

I felt like a traitor. I walked out on my own son.

And yet, when I called to check on him, he was settled in and having a good time. And he'd only been there a few hours. I know he's going to have an amazing week, but it's going to be very, very difficult for me to forget that he didn't want me to leave.

Sometimes, being a mom is incredibly hard. But I'll get to sleep in until the spirit moves me for three whole days this week, so that's minor compensation.



(Keri) Auburn Gal Always said...

What a gloriously crappy and hard job we have as moms! You're a great one. He's a great kid. He's fine. You KNOW he's fine or you wouldn't have sent in the application in the first place. Enjoy the sleeping late and leave the guilt to the enemy - and while you're at it, tell the big bad guy I said he can stick it too.

In other words, don't let his machinations ruin your time of rest. It's *OK* to enjoy alone time.

Carol N. said...

I agree with Keri! Best advice, ever!

(BTW - I love the "gloriously crappy" take on motherhood :o)

Anonymous said...

I run a camp for children with disabilities. Not once, in the 29 years the camp has been in existence, have we ever had a camper homesick and want to come home. As soon as the parent leaves, they are welcomed into the arms of the camp staff, who give them their undivided attention for all kinds of wonderful activities. I can't tell you the number of parents who go on vacation themselves while their children are with us. It's a win win situation!

Karen said...

@5kidswdisabilities - thank you for those words - it's exactly what I needed to hear. And I love that you run a camp for special kids. Thank you for your love.