Two weeks ago we dropped our kids off at camp, three provinces away, for a month long stay. Today I received a letter from our son and it instantly reminded me of the feelings I had when we said our final goodbyes before leaving him with his cabin mates. Like many boys, he finds being away from home challenging, especially in the evenings. He’s honest and open with his emotions in the lead-up to camp and at the actual drop off (when extra hugs are never ending). I tried to provide a sense of strength and positivity by acknowledging his fears and reminding him of the good times ahead but deep inside, I’m a super softie.
Any parent whose kid has gone to overnight camp can relate to this. Thanks very much Camp Ponacka and Camp Tanamakoon…
We are continually wondering if there is anything in the mail for us from the kids.
As they are 3.241.3km away, and we live in a mountain town where mail can take a while to get through the snowy pass and past ornery big horn sheep, there have been more days of nothing than something. Last week however we received the following (I’d misplaced it and just found again today), which is quite simply the best piece of mail I’ve ever received.
On the back was written:
Today I almost died. The day, August 4th, I was on a cook out and the horse got stung by a bee and freaked out and I fell off and got stood on my knee and got dragged and I thought I was going to die. I really really thought I was going to die. – Love Ben
I absolutely love the drawing. The placement of the bee, the motion of the fast running horse, the position of my son. I do wonder however, why he’s drawn himself in what looks suspiciously like a prison jump suit…
Our kids are away at camp and as any parent who has sent their kids to overnight camp knows, there is a ton of planning and a decent amount of stress associated with getting ready and delivering our children to their home away from home. This year we were lucky enough to stay with our dear friends in Ontario, at their lake access cottage. Their daughters attend the same camp as ours and all four girls had their bags packed, their backpacks set and their camp uniforms on. After getting dropped off at the dock it was but a short walk to the car and we’d whisk them away. Alas, a smooth getaway was not to be. Moments after seeing the kids walk across the dock we heard a “SPLASH!” I looked at my wife and we both knew who had fallen in.
Panic could have ensued. Shouting could have occurred. Tears could have been shed. Instead, my amazing daughter stated what had happened had happened and all that could be done was to clean up and move forward. I made a point of addressing both families and acknowledging that to a person, any other of us in my daughter’s position would have lost it. Maturity and confidence are qualities we as parents are constantly trying to build in our children. On a summer’s day, in a lake in Muskoka, we saw those qualities in action and despite the wet gear, that felt pretty good.
(And just in case my writing was a bit sloppy, here it is typed out…)
My boy…You were so very brave when we dropped you off. Two weeks away from home is a big deal and the magnitude of your undertaking is not lost on us. It’s been 5 days now and I want to write you a letter that explains how much I miss you, how proud I am of you and how I think about you every single day. I want to write and tell you that tears are not a sign of weakness, they are a symbol of your sensitivity. I want to write that there is no way I could have gone to camp on my own at only 9, without knowing anyone else, and that I admire your courage. I want to tell you that there will be nice people and mean people and that you have the strength to know the difference. That freedom from your parents is a great thing, that it’s ok to be scared and that with risk can also come reward. Challenge yourself. Question yourself. Have fun. Instead, I wrote a postcard detailing the weather and I can only hope that reading between the lines, you’ll know I love you and think you’re awesome.
And please click on the following link to see a sketch I created when my daughter went to camp: I wanted to tell you…