17 July 2011

Sleepaway, away away

My kid has had first-time jitters about going to sleepaway camp for a while now, and is on her way there, with her dad to drop her off and a best friend to bunk with for a week, which is all happening as I write this post. As coincidence has it, they're riding there with another girl who is adopted and who goes up to Snow Mountain Ranch in the summer for a heritage camp as well, which we have been doing with our daughter each summer for more than half her life. The difference is that we all go to her heritage camp together, but she is doing this on her own.

I feel terrible on one level about letting her go to camp -- nay, encouraging her to go -- given that she's experiencing such mixed feelings about entering the rapids of hormonal flux. I have parental jitters about the worst happening because I am not there. I feel our house and our routines and our adjacent rooms have become a talisman in and of themselves. At home, we can watch over each other constantly, but this is an untethering. I think we share the feeling that we are launching her up into space without a plan by sending her away from us like this.

I have to remember, when I'm feeling anxious that my daughter and knows how to stand up for herself. She was the one who said "No" when Will The Creepy Bus-Driver asked her to say things into his cellphone about another boy on the bus. Thank heavens, and thank me, too, for taking her absolutely seriously when she said she felt nervous around that person. Of course she would feel weird around an adult who was playing unexpected games in the few minutes he had with her every day, and turned and said to my face and hers that he was "just playing along with her and her friend, who had started it." As if he were supposed to be their big bus-driving buddy, their playful pal, not the guardian we expected to escort our tender darlings safely home from school every day. My point is that my daughter does know right from wrong and can take a stand when she needs to.

She really loved the sentiment "Take things in stride," from a framed picture containing "Lessons from a horse." I hope she can internalize more and more of that feeling of taking things in stride, adjusting as she goes, not necessarily stopping but skirting obstacles and continuing on as we all do.

I know too that my daughter has great untapped reserves of strength, and more resilience than she sometimes believes she has. She relies heavily and continuously on us, her parents, for support, which is fine and good, but I think it will be healthy for her to rely on herself, too -- to see and hear up close how other girls in the same situation do and don't rely on themselves.

I love her and worry about her but also trust her and have a huge amount of faith in her that I hope buoys her when she's feeling heavy. So I send her a wish and a prayer: I wish her a great first camp experience! May she make many great memories and friends and always be safe.

Oh, but here's what made me sit down and write about this in the first place. She goes off to camp, I sit down at the computer to start catching up on some writing, and this I find a document my daughter has written. It reads:

I still think she's going to be all right.

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