Friday, June 14, 2013

Baby mine

Today we counted underwear, t-shirts, socks, towels, sheets, pants etc. Tomorrow I will begin the process of putting her name on all of it. I am lucky enough to have iron on labels and sharpies. I can still remember my grandmother sewing each one on (by hand) for me. We will put all of it into two duffel bags and add in pre-addressed and stamped stationary, sunblock and books. I will hide a few love notes and zip them up for good.

A week from now we will board a plane and then take her to a bus stop. I will watch my baby climb on board for her first bus ride, to her first summer at sleep away camp. At that moment, as I watch her wave and try to smile through her tears, a piece of me will be inextricably lost forever. I will say goodbye to her, knowing she will come back different. Older, wiser, more independent and dirtier for sure. She will learn more about herself in those 29 days than she has likely learned in the first nine and a half years of her life. She will form lifetime friendships, a love for the outdoors and become a camper. She will make her own decisions without looking at me for the nod of approval, she will do her own hair and pick her own activities and choose her own friends without my influence. She will fall down and get hurt and someone else will comfort her and wipe away her tears. She will be homesick and someone else will hold her hand.

I know all of this to be true because 30 years ago, I was her. I went on the same life changing journey. Even though I had no idea at the time, now I know the indelible mark it left on me changed me as a person. The six summers I spent there taught me things about myself that stay with me today. There are things only other kids who were there with you can possibly understand. I remember as a freshman in college being able to pick out the other kids who had gone to sleep away camp. They were so much more prepared for the experience of being out of the nest for the first time; they adjusted with so much more ease.

But this is my baby, my first born, the one who made me a mother and who changed me again in ways I could never have imagined. I am so incredibly excited to be able to give her this gift, but I know in doing that I am also taking the first step in letting her go. There will be only 9 more years with her at home with us. With each one she will determine who she is, what she will become and where her path will lead. I know that my heart will break as the bus pulls away and I will count down every minute until she comes home. I hope I will be comforted in the knowledge that she is going to have the time of her life.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jessica, my daughter Joanna and your daughter have been in contact and will be together on the bus to camp, she is so excited to meet her new friend and be in the same bunk! As you remember camp is such a special place and a start of friendships. Although I didn't go to Poyntelle I did go to anther similar one. The experiences they have are memories of a lifetime. Looking forward to meeting you all next Sunday :)

Anonymous said...

BUNKMATES!!!! Sharing the exact same pieces of my heart -- but this for my baby -- my itsy bitsy. My oldest two have left the nest and will both be off at college this fall. My most precious littlest one will be with yours (and Joanna)forever emboding up all of the worldliness Poyntelle will gift our darlings. Can't wait to meet you. Love Shira (Joia's mom)

Anonymous said...

Hi Jessica,

My son who is 25 years old was also once 9 and getting on the camp bus for the first time. It was one of the hardest moments in my life but we have been defined by that moment . My son is the amazing young man that he is today because of his experiences at CPLV and I am better mother for allowing him to fly on his own.
After many many years of being a camper, junior counselor, counselor and division head life called him to pursue his career and he had to answer the call. So with a heavy heart he left his favorite place in the entire world and moved on. But what he took with him in his heart lives on and on.
Every year as summer approaches he finds himself wondering back in time a place where he learned to be the person he is today CPLV. Every summer he to plans his trip back to camp not on the bus instead by car but he return to camp for a weekend. He gets there on Friday just in time for Shabbot and between the beauty of and fun of Shabbot at camp and the his time there he fills his heart with enough sweet memories for another year.
His name is Reuben and he is an amazing and very accomplished young man not only because of schooling and parents but because of his time spent at CPLV

Good luck to you and your daughter and enjoy every moment of her new world and the person she will become