camp drop off


Another year.  Another camp drop off.  Her sixth summer, and his fourth.  The camp I adore.

Another reminder of the dizzying speed with which this world is spinning, with which the years are flying by.

Three years ago I wrote that I love right now more than I have any other moment of my life.  And that is still true.  I still love right now more than any other moment.  That fact is heartening, yes, but it’s also bittersweet: the years with Grace and Whit at home grow shorter, the shadows behind us lengthen.  I feel the same way about that indelible fact as I do about looking into their echoingly empty rooms: it’s like pushing on a bruise.  I can’t avoid the reminders of this life’s breathtaking beauty or its keen sorrow, nor the ineluctable drumbeat sound of time’s passage.


The truth is it was a difficult drop off.  There were some tears, which had also filled the days leading up to the 21st.  I wasn’t entirely prepared for these tears, this anxiety, this fear.  My children are getting older, camp is a familiar, joyful place – where was this uncertainty and clinginess coming from? Maybe it’s just about age and stage, as I’ve described before, a last gasp of attachment before the children (the teenager in particular) push off for the other shore for good.

It was a difficult morning, last Thursday.  I left even though I was being begged not to.  As we drove down the Cape, I was sad, confused, reminded yet again that the minute I think I have understood this life – her sixth summer, his fourth, we’ve got this! – I’m shown that in fact the only constant is change.

What I do know is that her cabin – Courageous – is well-named.  I know that she and Whit (who, in case you’re wondering, despite some challenges last summer, bounded into his cabin and shooed us out before his bed was even made) are in excellent hands. I know they will flourish. I know that even if there is some homesickness, the opportunity to face our difficulties and triumph is one not to be squandered.  We watched Grace do it last fall with cross-country, and I’m confident she will again.  In fact maybe the point is this discomfort; without some sorrow and some tears, we wouldn’t be maximizing this summer opportunity. Maybe. I am not sure. I know I miss my little soul mate, and her entertaining brother around whom everyday is a celebration. I miss them, but this is the right thing for them. So, courageous all, we forge head, separated by miles but connected by the raveling red yarn that ties our hearts.

3 thoughts on “camp drop off”

  1. Oh, this resonates. It makes me think back to the summer when I was sixteen, a continent away from my family for the very first time, spending the summer exploring beautiful New Hampshire and staying with a generous, gracious family who made this an unforgettable time. Yet I was dying from homesickness. I called home every night, anxiously awaiting the time to pick up the phone. And still, the trip left an indelible mark, the anxiety lessened the further I was into my stay, and it turned out to be a formative summer. Thinking of you and your girl.

  2. I admire your ability to let them go to camp! I never went to sleep-away camp, although I vaguely remember wanting to go. I’ve always been reluctant to let mine children attend camp. I’m too afraid that it would hurt ME too much. I’m reconsidering. My daughter is desperate to go – for only one week – with some of her friends. And my oldest, he wants to go to cross country camp, which is run by one of his coaches. I feel foolish saying, “no.” He’s 15! I guess, next summer, I’ll have to finally let them go.

  3. I am on the other end with two kids grown and out of the house and one in college but I still feel that tension between holding them close and gently pushing them out of the nest (sometimes not so gently ) so they can spread their wings and learn to fly. Parenting with love-so hard but also the best thing you’ll ever do. Sounds like you are an amazing mom. ❤️

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