Fayetteville, N.C. — Is going to sleepaway camp as a child a rite of passage?
I was surprised last week when my husband casually made that remark. You see, I never went away to camp, and so far, my kids haven’t either. Camp, at least in my mind, is the thing that other people do. It looks cool, and I love seeing the pictures, but it’s not really for me.
Except, my kids are not me.
My husband grew up going on lots of camping trips, sleeping in tents, sitting by campfires. He and my son enjoy several camping trips a year, so I suppose a natural next step would be for Eli to go off to camp on his own.
And Emma would love the social aspects of camp: making new friends, sleeping in bunks, getting mail from home.
Yes, it all sounds well and good, except for one small thing: My babies!
Not being able to talk to my child for a week, possibly two? Searching for hidden meanings in their letters home? Looking for signs of trouble in the photos the counselors email to parents?
The thought really does make me ill.
And I know it’s ridiculous — I know I should be slowly preparing myself to let them go off on their own for good someday. I mean, what am I going to do, live in an RV in the parking lot of their college dorm one day?
No, that thought hasn’t occurred to me. At all.
I don’t want to deprive my kids of fun, and if I’m being honest, I think they both would enjoy going away for camp.
I just want to know how in the world I would survive it.
Jennifer is a mom of two and WRAL-TV assignment editor in Fayetteville. Her food obsession memoir, “Designated Fat Girl,” came out in 2010. Read more about Jennifer and her book on her website. She writes about motherhood and family-friendly activities in Fayetteville.