How to let go of your first-time camper

How to let go of your first-time camper

My boys are going to sleepover camp for the first time and I’m secretly a wreck.

In front of them, I have to be excited and upbeat. I have to project confidence and pride.

What I really want to do is hug them and never let go. I want to kiss their cheeks. I want to tuck them in at night. See their wild bed head in the morning. I want to know what they’re eating. I want to make sure they are wearing sunscreen. I want to hear about their day.

I know they are only going to overnight camp for a few days, but it’s their first time. And it’s my first time, too. Man, it’s hard to let go. It’s exciting to see them grow up, but it’s not easy. It’s strange to feel I’m no longer solely in control of protecting them each day. They are learning to take care of themselves.

If I can just get them onto the bus it will be ok. But the truth is, I don’t know how I’m going to manage the good bye. There’s no chance I won’t cry. I’m not an actress. I can’t pull it off.

But I will try. I want them to have fun. I want them to grow up. To separate from me and have the confidence to know they can be independent. I am proud of their courage and of mine. I think I’ve done a pretty good job of getting them this far in life.

When I wave good bye, there will be tears in my eyes. Some of these tears will be sad, but some will be happy, too. This is an amazing milestone. As hard as it is for me, I’m excited for them. They are getting big and it’s time to start letting go, a few nights at a time.


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