Monday, July 5, 2010

And so Summer Begins...with Adventure Day Camp!

Matthew and I spend a lot of time together - in fact, given that I work outside the house so little, we spend virtually all of our time together.  This fact, in combination with some great day camps being offered in the city in July-August, led us to ask Matthew if he'd like to participate in a few weeks of day camp this summer.  He was very excited about the prospect, so we signed him up...for four of them!  So this summer, he'll be spending five days at each of the following day camps: adventure camp; basketball camp; tennis camp; and science camp.

Today is the first day of adventure day camp, being offered at a church about two minutes from our house.  I've been hearing for three years about how terrific the program is and I've been waiting for Matthew to be of the age when he could attend.  This is the year!   The kids spend the morning at the church, playing games in the gym, as well as participating in small group activities that revolve around a biblical theme (last year was the fruit of the spirit: love; joy; peace; patience; etc).  Then in the afternoon, they get to go to water parks, beaches, the zoo - that kind of stuff.  

This is a week of 'firsts' for Matthew and me.  He's never been gone from home for five full days of anything.  Other than to my friend's home when I work on occasion and the few days he spent at my sister's when Geoff and I went to New York in 2008, he's never even been gone from home for one full day!  So in preparation for today, we did for the first time the kind of things that most people do regularly during the school year:  we packed a peanut-free lunch and snacks (we definitely need a bigger backpack!); had to get up a bit on the early side; he thought about going on his first ever school bus trip (on route to this afternoon's field trip); we talked about what it would be like to be away all day and with people that he doesn't know; and we talked about safety rules.  It was a big deal in our home!

Because he doesn't know any of the other kids attending, Matthew asked if I would stay for the first little while, until he was ready for me to leave.  I said of 'of course,' and that I'd stay for as long as he needed me to.  Frankly, I was relieved that he wanted me to stay for a while because I, too, wanted to see how things would go, and to get the lay of the land! Also, I had a small list of questions for the staff that I had to restrain myself from drilling them with the moment I saw them (I'm going to be that dreaded parent, aren't I?).  I was surprised, to be honest, that I was the only parent, the only one, who stayed beyond the point of registration.  Do other people not linger???  Do others not have questions about whether the leaders have had criminal checks (ok, that one I'd already confirmed two months ago when I signed him up), or how they'll make sure that every kid is accounted for, or who will be my kid's small group leader, or how they handle the smaller kids going to the bathroom??  Obviously not!!  But I stayed for almost an hour, while the kids played warm-up games in the gym and then gathered into a smaller meeting room so that the staff could introduce them to the week, go over the rules, and divide the kids up into their small groups.  You'll be glad to know that, during gym time, I did manage to stop myself from mowing one kid down when he accidentally, he said to Matthew bumped into Matthew during a game of tag.  Finally, when I could tell by Matthew's body language that he was relaxed, I waved to him, smiled, and motioned that I was going to go.  He blew me a kiss and a hug, and waved me off.  When I left the room, I stopped at the doorway to see if he would look back for a last wave.  He didn't.  He was engrossed.  To my relief and to my sadness.  My baby was ready to be on his own.

I don't think that I am!  This must be what it's like for moms and dads sending their kids off to kindergarten or grade 1 for the first time.  I cried on the short drive home, questioned out loud to God about why kids have to grow up so fast, shook my fist at the situation, and wondered why on earth I'd ever though day camp was a good idea.  Two hours after I left him, I'm still wound tight as a drum, hoping that he's ok, praying that he stays safe when they venture out on their field trip this afternoon, wishing for him to develop some friendships with the other kids and with his small group leader.  I'm an anxious mama today, upset stomach and all!  It's too quiet around here, even with the radio on (a luxury that I usually long for).  I'm supposed to be starting to work on a bunch of household projects today, but already I can hardly wait to see Matthew later this afternoon, check him out for bruises and broken limbs, maybe a hurt feeling or two.  Before I see him, though, I'll need somehow to collect myself and ensure that the face I present to him is calm and open and ready to hear all about his terrific day.  No worries - he'll never know that today is the day I started to accumulate ulcers.  Is there something wrong with me??!!

* Thanks for the comments, everyone - so much appreciated!! I hope, too, that I get to the point of being able to enjoy some time on my own.  I generally love having some time by myself and have longed for it at I want to be able to take advantage of it and get a bunch of much-needed projects done (and maybe fit in a matinee or two!).


  1. No, don't think there's anything wrong with you! (But this is coming from a girl who had a stay-at-home mom, went to a tiny Christian school & tiny church, never went out with friends socially, other than youth group, and thinks letting kids loose in schools and unsupervised social settings is generally asking for trouble). Hoping the first-day jitters pass, and that this becomes a time of positive growth toward independence for Matthew, and eventually welcome opportunity for you to have a few days to yourself this summer...

  2. Hi Ruth! Yesterday we left our 11 year old daughter at my mothers in Quebec City. She will get the chance over the next two weeks to visit both sets of Grandparents and all of her aunts, uncles and cousins. I did feel happy for her..and did my best to be cheerful when we left her...but to see her wave as we drove me away, drove me to tears. I am pretty certain that through my tears I asked my husband to turn around as I had changed my mind. Luckily for our daughter her father kept driving away. I realize that this will be a blessed experience with her family. Yet I already miss growling at her about leaving her socks on the living room floor. ..and the toothpaste left in the sink. Well, summer is for fun and learning. As Joy so nicely put it....growth toward independence. Perhaps not just for our children....heehee

  3. Ruth,

    I feel like the sage experienced mom saying... I TOTALLY GET IT!!!! It was two years ago that Isaiah went to his first VBS and it was totally the same. From criminal checks to a little talk with his teacher, I feel like we are living parallel lives! Last year was easier, and this year - we both said goodbye after five minutes. I am very happy that it is only a few times a year, however...