Well, we are in the home stretch! The letters arrive a bit more sporadically and are no longer gut wrenching essays. Camp is now being described as a “home away from home.” My girl is blossoming, absorbing, and taking it all in. She is thriving, smiling, and enjoying herself to the fullest. She is described by camp counselors, liaisons and friends as a model camper; the kind that every camp needs and promotes. She has made the definitive decision to return next year…four letters ago she wasn’t so sure. So, in the long run, she stuck it out and reaped all the rewards of an utterly exciting camp season. Yeah for my girl!
Allow me to sigh audibly for a moment…haaaaaahhhh.
The tightness in my chest has subsided, and my relief is evident in that I no longer camp out in front of the mailbox, nor do I hound the postman by chasing him down the block, or rifling through his bag while insisting on an earlier delivery time. No, now that I am secure in the knowledge that she is loving life, I AM GOING TO THROTTLE HER WHEN SHE GETS HOME!
Seriously? “Home away from home?” She took a piece of my heart with every gut wrenching; tear inducing, heart-rending manuscript she meticulously wrote. I waited anxiously with my heart in my mouth, every day, for a piece of paper that would either make my heart sing, or destroy every ounce of parental self-confidence I ever had. The first week brought doubt, sadness, stomach pain, sleeplessness, and food binging. I gained 5 lbs this summer!
Each letter contained some sort of zinger that would plague me until the next delivery. Does she even realize the stress I have been going through? Does she know that I am constructing a protective bubble to keep her in next summer? Could she ever know that her father (by the way, whatever they say about Jewish mothers is totally wrong…it’s definitely the fathers who should be the butt of every neurotic joke) was ready to jump on a plane on a moment’s notice and whisk her out of the “evil, alien” environment we call…camp? Or that he was ready to do the “I told you so” dance, but exercised sympathetic restraint when he saw how awful I felt? NO, NO, NO, NO!
She couldn’t possibly know any of that because my letters were nothing but positive, supportive, motivating, and understanding. “Don’t worry, sweetie, homesickness is natural, it means you love your family.” I dug deep into my social work background, I used all the appropriate jargon, I stepped up as the understanding parent and did everything to encourage and foster independence, self-awareness, and acclimation despite my own fears and insecurities.
And how does she repay me? She takes my advice…THE NERVE!!