The day has come.
I began preparing for this almost 9 years ago.
I stood there gazing at the sea of baggage surrounding us as parents and children arrived.
Girls were giggling as cameras clicked and flashed. The Mums and Dads stood back, and yet stayed close, a delicate balance. For many of us this was our child’s first camp.
I had one of those out of body experiences. I could see conflicting emotions on many of the faces around me. A Mum standing quietly on her own. A nervous smile here and excited chatter there. Anxiety and delight all tumbled in together.
I felt comfortably at ease. Mentally untying the apron strings, I usually have knotted so tight.
The atmosphere was electric as everyone made their way to the bus. Hugs and kisses were exchanged as the kids clambered aboard. The bus then slowly pulled away from the kerb with children madly waving from the windows aa a few parents wiped away their tears.
Someone asked, how are you feeling? You ok? Was it wrong to say yes, I’m ok? Should I be sad? Should I be happy? Should I be relieved?
Should, should, should had no place here.
I headed back to my car and decided to let go of all my expectations. The ones I placed upon myself the day she was born. The day when just leaving her alone to sleep in another room was a struggle, and the idea of going to camp was unthinkable.
My present day heart had evolved, it was filled with enormous pride. A pride so rich it oozes from my pores.
I’m ridiculously proud of my 9 year journey with this gorgeous and incredible girl, I am blessed to call my daughter.
She was ready, I was ready, we were ready.
Of course we’d packed and labelled and repacked and double checked the list. She was physically ready.
But more importantly she was independent and emotionally ready, and that preparation had taken us every one of those 3258 days since she was born.
She’s ready to take care of herself, to bathe, to decide on food at a buffet, to cut up and eat that food, to brush and tie her hair (I hope), to manager her belongings, to settle herself at night, to make more decisions, to clean up after herself.
She’s ready to step up and I’m ready to step back.
The ease I feel today at letting her go is the knowing that this is a natural progression for us both. An experience to be celebrated and applauded.
Today my daughter has gone to camp, her first camp and this is my first camp as “The Mum”and we are ok, very ok.
How have you felt when your child left for their first camp? I would love to hear your stories.