When your kids are toddlers, if you're anything like I was, you CANNOT wait to send them to camp. Seriously. You dream of it. The three hours of VBS in the mornings just ain't cutting it. You imagine dropping them off and coming back home to sleep and eat whatever you want and have peace and quiet and a break from the chaos of life with kids. You imagine yourself and your husband over candle lit dinners gazing lovingly into each other's eyes.....Or playing video games and watching movies together. Either/or. Sounds like Heaven, right?
And then those toddlers start getting older. And something very strange happens as they get older. It is really the weirdest thing ever, but they actually become somewhat more enjoyable to be around. Go figure? Where you once longed for time without them; now, in the midst of busy schedules, you long for some family time with them. But that's no longer their dream. They are sprouting wings and trying out independence. They are riding bikes with friends and stopping by for snacks or a bathroom. Your home is now basically an outhouse with food.
And then one day, it's time to send them off to camp. They've been begging. They are ready. They want to buy junk from the canteen and play games with their friends for a week. And suddenly you are dragging your feet. A week? Away? Won't they need me?! The answer: No. No, they won't. They may (if I'm lucky) miss me, but no, they won't need me.
And so it begins.
The oldest child is on the East coast staying with awesome grandparents and going to an art camp.
She didn't even let me help her pack. She's got this.
The middle child is in the mountains staying in a cabin with friends and learning more about the bible. He did let me help him pack because he cannot find anything. Ever.
The youngest child is stuck at home all week and none too happy about it.
And as I dropped my goofy nine year old off yesterday, instead of counting down the days until he comes home next weekend, I found myself counting down the years I have left with him. And it just doesn't feel like enough. So I did what every sane mother does. I stayed in his cabin with him until he quietly said, "Bye Mom. I love you."
HINT HINT: YOU ARE EMBARRASSING ME! NOBODY ELSE'S MOTHER IS IN THE CABIN UNPACKING THEIR KIDS CLOTHES!
Hint taken, son.
And so I left, dragging my feet and picturing this in my mind: wondering how we got from there to here so fast?
And I'm not going to lie - I don't really want to go back there. My sister is there right now. And our conversations are often interrupted by screaming toddlers and I just laugh and laugh. (It's really funny when someone else is dealing with a two year old terrorist and you can just witness it with relief that your toddler days are behind you.....)
But I don't necessarily want time to keep marching forward either.
Maybe if we could just stand still and stay here for a little while?
Something tells me that's not in the cards.