It’s the Away Part of Sleepaway Camp that Gets to Me

In fourteen days, my kids will leave for sleepaway camp.  You’d think I’d be excited.  They are going to have this incredible experience, make lifelong friends, enjoy the mountains, and a lake, and the camaraderie that’s practically exclusive to being at camp.

You’d think I’d be looking forward to having some time alone with my husband.  To enjoying evenings out without worrying about a babysitter. To getting to read the paper on the actual day it comes out. (Most of my news comes to me in the back seat of a cab!) To not having to say “brush your teeth, have you had a shower lately” or “how did a cream cheese sandwich end up under your bed?”

Well, I’m not doing that. Me, being me after all, well all I’m doing is bursting into tears every five minutes.

I guess I’m selfish.  I don’t want them to leave me.  My husband keeps on telling me that they’ll be fine.  I know they‘ll be fine.  They’ll be great.  I’m the one I’m worried about.  Since I have twins, they’re both leaving me at once.  And so, being me again, I start to think about when they’ll leave me emotionally – when they both start to care way more about their friends then they do about me – at the same time. I think about when they’ll leave me intellectually, when they’ll both start to think they know everything and their father and I know nothing — at the same time.  When they’ll  leave me  physically to go to college — at the same time.

At the same time – I’m happy for them.  I am. I loved camp and I know they will too.  I’m just sad for me.  Because it isn’t just that they’re leaving for camp.  It’s that they’re old enough to leave for camp.  It’s that this is just the beginning of them really, truly becoming independent and separating from me.  Which is healthy, and wonderful, and what a parent hopes their child will do.

And kind of wishes will never happen.


  1. says

    I feel your pain, but on a smaller scale. Literally. I am sending my almost 2 year-old off to daycare 3 half days a week so he can be social. We have been visiting every morning so he can get used to it. The problem is I’m not going to want to drop him off and leave next time. I don’t and do look forward to the day he goes to sleepaway camp, becomes independent from me and, God-willing, a man of his own, someday.

    Good luck!

  2. says

    Loved this post!
    Why? Because it shows not just how much you love your children, but how much you understand their needs… and know that their needs MUST come first.
    Even when it means you will suffer the agony of letting your children go… and grow.
    My 3 youngest are all only 17 months apart. They are more like triplets than singles in so many ways, now that they are 12, 13 & 14.
    They have many of the same friends and do many things together.
    They have also all found that they no longer wish to watch TV with Mom and Dad, to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon hanging out at home- unless of course their friends are over. And then they spend the time in their rooms or watching TV and playing video games or playing volleyball in the pool… with their friends, not Mom and Dad.
    This is the summer that my babies are leaving the nest- emotionally, if not physically.
    Well, and intellectually too, if truth be told. What teen boy or girl actually thinks their parents have a clue?
    Apparently, mine don’t either.
    Feel free to share your grief… it’s all a part of the process.
    It’s just one that really sucks, sometimes.

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