The countdown is on. Departure date is fast approaching. In the flurry of activity of packing, labelling, checking items off the list, you catch yourself wondering what will you do without your child? You feel your anxiety rising. Your thoughts are scattered:
• How much you’ll miss her
• What is going on every day?
• Will she miss home? Will she cry? Starve?
• Why can’t I phone her? Should I sneak a Batman to Gotham City style satellite phone into the duffel bag?
From one parent to another, I get it. I have to admit, when my son, Jake went to Camp Ponacka for the first time, I tried to get Joc to think of a reason to call Anne and Don on “business”. I said “sneak in a question about how he is doing”. I wish I had recorded the look she gave me before telling me to smarten up! Haha! In the end, I’m glad she refused. Why? Because I got to hear about his camp experience from his perspective. It was the best 3-hour drive home. I heard about his cabin mates, canoe trip, his visit to the Doctor after he took a huge wipeout on the path, the food (oh the food..It was so good!). His counsellor was a rock star in his mind and the list goes on and on!
If you are a parent sending your daughter off to camp for the first time, get excited! In the moments where you begin to worry and wonder about what her camp experience will be like, write down your thoughts and questions. Remind yourself to ask her about the things on your list when she gets home. In the interim, tell her how excited you are for her. Remind her that being away at camp is a time for her to spread her wings, learn new skills and meet new people. Let her know that you are inspired by her decision to be courageous for taking an opportunity to try something new. And from someone who has been in your shoes, I’m reminding you to be brave, courageous and smile when she gets on the bus. Maybe you will do what I did when the kids were away at camp and clean out their toys while they aren’t around to keep every last thing!