Chase and Noah Camp Drop 2011
As we drove through the camp gates, a line of counselors stretched before us, each greeting us with the same salutation:
Whereas some Jewish mothers parents might squirm at the thought of their children calling any other place on the planet “home” besides the one where the family has dinner each night, I have always found this welcome comforting. I turned to look at my sons in the back seat. Noah was itching to jump out and find his summer friends while Chase sat back and took in the scene. And “the look” fell over his sweet face for the third straight year.
“The Look” is difficult to explain but it is something that Dave and I picked up after Chase’s first year at sleep away camp. During that summer, we scoured the Bunk 1 photos every night trying to pick up clues to our boys’ state of mind. Whereas Noah was fairly demonstrative in his posing, Chase was completely Zen-like in his appearance. A half smile, happy eyes, flanked by buddies, and in complete control of his own universe. He is in his element at camp – he thrives there – and he can be the kid he wants to be without his parents or brother making any alternative suggestions.
I never thought I would be the Mom to send her sons away to camp. I always questioned the intentions of parents who rid themselves of their children for longer than a week in the summer. But of the thousands of parenting decisions we have made in the last 13 years, this was one of the best. Sending the boys away to camp has nothing to do with us and everything to do with them.
My nephew Sam went to sleep-away camp for the first time earlier this summer and, as my brother-in-law Jeff tells it, when asked by his parents what he was looking forward to most about the pending adventure, his reply was, “Well, for one, I get to get away from you people.” Camp = independence at a time when a child craves it. Sam had a great summer. He was ready for space – as my guys were on Wednesday.
The drop-off felt smoother this year than in years past. I told Chase that if he came home with a girlfriend, I would set myself on fire. This threat made him laugh. Noah proclaimed that he is never going to have a camp girlfriend again. (Dave and I give him a week.) I am pondering the packages I will send them while they are gone. I was in the Dollar Store the other day and saw these great rubber severed hands and feet. I wonder if the camp will frown upon that? I think they would find plenty of uses for these items.
The boys were glad to see us leave – they had things to do, places to go, people to see. And as we drove out of camp, a lightness came over us, knowing that our kids were so very happy and definitely “home.”
The Ride to Camp – Noah Chills While Chase Catches ZZZs
The Boys at Home – Noah and Buddy Ben – Chase on His Bunk with The Look