School camps or church camps or any kind of camp for children under 10 without their parents in my world is a big deal.
I was quite young on my first school camp and I remember being scared and relying on my big sister to help me but she didn’t want me hanging around. I wasn’t the homesick kind of kid but I sure remember feeling pretty overwhelmed and unsure. Could this be old scars from my childhood haunting me?
When we pulled our kids out of school I was quite happy that I wouldn’t have to deal with school camps. The distance ed school we go through offers camps and parents are encouraged to go along – that’s a great idea – I thought.
Every year my Church runs a high school camp and a young adults retreat but this year they added to it. They decided to run the first ever ‘Octane’ camp for upper primary kids.
My inner conversation went a little like this…
‘No, he’s not going!’ ‘Can I say he’s only in grade 4?’ ‘Should I offer his Dad to go and help?’ ‘It’s a bit pricey, we just don’t have the cash’(lie1 – not pricey … lie2 – we have enough) ‘Could I say no, you can go next year’
No, I couldn’t, it would have broken his heart. The fact is he is nine and a half. He is going to be in grade 5 this year. He is growing up and I cannot, and will not stunt his growth.
We dropped him off Monday afternoon in style… the whole family there to wave good bye. The thing is he did look and act like he belonged there. Tears? None from him but I had to blink a few times while driving away.
Homeschooled children are with their family pretty much all day everyday. They do have play days and we allow them to have the odd sleep over at Grandma’s or a friend’s house. I know it’s important to keep them growing independently so they are OK when they’re away from us, but boy have I been questioning my parenting since I dropped him off.
My inner chat then was a little like this…
‘What if he gets scared when it’s bed time?’ ‘What if I forgot to tell him something really important?’ ‘What if he drops all of his dry clothes in the shower?’ ‘What if he can’t get his sheet on the bed?’ ‘What if something goes wrong and he's too scared to tell someone?’
I haven’t had a phone call, so I guess nothing major has happened. I have missed him – he is just the sweetest son anyone could ask for. He has such a balancing affect on our household. He is a peace keeper, a helper and a great big brother.
We’re off this morning to pick him up. I hope he knew enough to survive. If I’ve missed something I hope I can learn and teach my girls before they are faced with a camp.
Am I the only mummy who gets all sappy over this kind of stuff?
ps He managed just fine, had an absolute blast and I was worried for no reason!!!