I have no one to blame but myself, really. It’s not as though OBoy heard about this nature summer camp and asked if he could go; he didn’t even know what ‘summer camp’ meant until I told him. In early May it sounded like a good idea, one that OBoy would surely love, but I didn’t take into account my own emotions. I couldn’t have anticipated how much it would physically pain me to watch my boy be so danged independent as I dropped him off.
It is a four day camp, three hours a day at a local park and rec nature center. For OBoy, it has been an absolute dream. His top three favorite things in the “wide wide world” (as he calls it) are 1. PEOPLE 2. BUGS 3. QUESTIONS (asking them, specifically). So hiking out into a field with a handful of kiddos to explore, dig in the dirt, and look for worms with teachers at the ready to answer all.of.the.why.questions??
It’s like a heaven made just for my OBoy.
The sight of my babies accomplishing something for the first time is known to reduce me to tears, and Monday as I walked away from a very happy, very excited OBoy attending camp for the first time was no exception.
I feel a nagging sense of loss as I watch my children move (sometimes leap) toward the next season in their lives. I do. It makes me want to punch Time, the thief apparent, square in the face. But it also makes me reevaluate my own perspective. I don’t want to be the mother who is pulled kicking and screaming through the milestones of her children’s lives. I want to be excited, to celebrate, to cry only happy tears of pride.
Something that helps me in that task is watching and listening to my children as they grow.
(This is including but not limited to sneaking back to the park reserve to watch the last 30 minutes of OBoy’s first camp day from a distance. Unfortunately for me, I have a 15 month old who does not understand the concept of Stealth Mode and he was soon crashing the nature camp party. Very, very fortunately for me, I have a first born who loves his little brother something fierce and was ecstatic to have him play along.)
When I watched OBoy from a distance and eventually face-to-face, when I tuned in to how he felt about all of this, I could not help be infected by his excitement and enthusiasm. He has Big Feelings and he happily shares them with me. As I listed to his little person thoughts on camp, I was caught up in those feelings with him.
First words out of his mouth this morning: “Mommy? I just love camp.”
Second words? “Can OBrother come with me to camp today?”
O, my boys. O my sweet, sweet boys.