Bo is away at a camp for 5 weeks. I'm 10 days into this 35 day ordeal. AND I'M HANDLING IT VERY WELL THANK YOU!
Actually I am. This was not an easy decision for me to make. He's 11. He's my baby. I like to claim exclusive rights to free child labor and making him miserable. I want to be the one whose ears he talks off every morning because he just spent 10 plus hours not talking at.all. Also, I'm confident I'm not alone on this one, I want to be near him if he gets sad or disappointed or hurt or scared. I need proximity for myself, even more than for him. That was the part I had to recognize and kind of let go of in making the decision to let him go because it's not a good enough reason to limit his opportunities. I mean, it's good enough for me, but apparently J has a say in this childrearing gig.
Also, this is a once in a lifetime experience---it's an incredible camp with amazing opportunities and with a price tag we could never afford (admittedly, if we could afford it, I would never spend that kind of money on a kid that still chews chicken nuggets with his baby teeth--it's liking feeding Ben and Jerry's to a two year old. Who does that!) so that all helps with making the decision to take the plunge into non-helicopter parenting. By the way, what's the opposite of a helicopter parent? That's me. The opposite of helicopter parent is Gets Tapped On The Shoulder Regularly By Strangers Because Her 14-Month-Old Is Hanging From The Branch Of A Nearby Tree Parent. Or the Three Year Old Has Flagged Down An Ice Cream Truck And Is Buying Popsicles For The Neighborhood AGAIN With Your Grocery Money She "Found" In An Envelope In A Top Cupboard Behind The Vitamins Parent. That's me.
We got our first letters from Bo today. He sent separate envelopes and letters to Avee and Danyo. So sweet. He told Danyo he jumped in some water that was so cold it made him start singing like Yoko Ono. If you don't know what that means, you should look it up. It's insane. He told Avee he was already learning valuable things at camp like:
If pretending that doesn't crack me up is the appropriate thing to do, I'm not good for the job. I love this kid's sense of humor. I think the thing that I love about the above is that those ARE viable "qualities" to be learning at a camp, and he knows it. He didn't just slap up any random word, it's thoughtful, smart, and childish all at the same time.
He addressed his letter to me with "& friends" at the end. He knows me well.
Tonight we (the three other kids and I) made a quick run to the store where it poured down just sheets of rain from the moment we stepped inside the store to about 2 minutes before we walked out. I was watching it come down at the cash register, dreading the inevitable soaking we'd get, but not even a drizzle when we walked outside.
Avee was sitting in the front seat with her head out the window, enjoying the wind in her face. I saw a gigantic puddle up ahead and it had to be done. I sped up enough to create a giant splash. I have no shame, I gleefully tried to soak my own child sitting not even two feet from me. She shrieked with delight and Danyo immediately started whining from the backseat that he never gets to get splashed by me when we are driving in the car and he's hanging out of the window.
So we rolled down his window and spent the next 20 minutes hunting down worthy roadside puddles. It was the most fun I've had in ages. I thought Danyo was going to hyperventilate from laughing so hard. He has the same laugh he had as a baby. I can't get enough of it, plus he's kind of stingy with his hearty laughter, he's not wasting that near hyperventilation on just anyone.
I love the lighting at twilight, and the 30-45 minutes before. It feels like the world is softer, more gentle. That time of day, when I stop to notice and feel and experience it, feels me with nostalgia. Combining that with my kids' shrieks of laughter and delight was soul satisfying.
Then I came home and set the timer for 4 minutes and threatened to beat them all soundly if they weren't in bed with teeth brushed by the time the timer went off.
Parenting? I got this.