Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Breaking Away

It's been an interesting few days.  For the first time ever, the Oldest has gone off to an overnight camp without knowing a soul there.  We live in a small beach town and have a number of great day programs nearby.  And with most of the overnight camps were financially out of our reach or focused on nothing my kids were interested in, we've never done the Summer Away Camp Shuffle.  But he's going to be a junior this year, which means he needs to start thinking about college.  And his father and I thought he needed a taste of what it might be like.

We dropped him off Sunday, and by the time we did, I was ready to leave him there.  Heck, I was ready to drop him on the side of the highway at that point.  He was nervous, but wouldn't say so.  Instead, he chose to bite my head off.  Continuously.  With a surly expression.  From Saturday right through to taking his stuff up to his dorm room.  His mood improved a little when his first roommate arrived - they compared notes and realized they had common friends and had even competed against one another - and he hugged us all goodbye.

The first night, he FaceTime'd us so he could say goodnight to the Preschooler.  He had met people, had dinner, seen some of the campus, and... he missed us.  A lot.  He kept saying it, and looked like he was going to cry.  Last night, no FaceTime - it was Movie Night, so we texted one another for a bit.  Again, the words "I miss u" were repeated, but he seemed more focused on being tired - he couldn't fall asleep the night before.

He has one more night before we pick him up tomorrow.  It'll be interesting to see if his mood has changed.  His father and grandfather both think this was a great thing to make him do, to get a sense of being away from family, to have to figure out things on your own and pick yourself up if you fail.  His grandmother thinks he'll be more appreciative of his family.  His brothers just miss him - he apparently is the only one who can hit a certain level on their favorite Wii game.

Honestly, I miss him too, but I know this transition needs to start.  I'm just afraid this experience will have backfired on us, that when we pick him up, he'll look at us and tell us that two years from now, he'll be commuting to college.

1 comment:

Shelli said...

As a teen, I remember that feeling so well. Wanting to be my own person, but not wanting to stray "too far and long" away from home. Other than a few sparse weekends away from home in high school, I was comfortable being a homebody. And then college came (in another state). I managed fine, but I can only imagine what my parents felt letting their firstborn travel into the unknown alone. Aah, the perplexity of parenting...