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She's gone: her first sleepaway camp

It was really almost yesterday that she was going on her very first sleepover.  Four years later, I packed her up for her first sleepaway camp.  For the past two days, she - my almost-ten year-old - has been in a tizzy, making her list and checking it twice, to be sure she had everything on it.  We went through and labeled everything: the tent, the tarp, the camp chairs, the flip and the flop.  Everything.  This morning, I had to leave for work before any one else was awake, so I missed dropping her off at their meeting place.  I had to say my goodnight last night. 

I just tucked her little sister into bed, and she asked me to stay and read a while.  She didn't have company tonight in bed, no big sister to chatter with her while she drifted off to sleep.  To be sure, we miss her.  By tomorrow night, however, I might be sick with worry - wondering if she's warm enough, eating enough, having fun enough....  Even if I know in my heart of hearts that she is having the time of her life, there will be a good portion of me that will still wonder, and worry.

Before she left, I asked her to please use her best judgment, to let one of the counselors know if she ever feels unsafe or uncomfortable.  Most of all, I told her to have fun.  These are the things that memories are made of - cold summer nights at the coast, staying up with friends, roasting marshmallows, being parentless for the first time, more than just an overnight at a friend's house.  I miss her so much, but I am so happy for her, excited for her and her first sleepaway camp.  Thank goodness it's *only* two nights away.  I don't think I could stomach much more.


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Aww... not too long ago I was the kid going off to camp. I remember the nervous excitement. The unknown. It was always a blast and I remember every year and often tell my husband camp stories. Fun, fun, fun! Now that I am a mom, I am eager for my boys to be old enough to go away, I want them to have all the experiences I had. Camp is a rite of passage. It is a time of growth. She will be home before you know it and have amazing stories.

On the other hand, your post made me cry.

I can't even fathom letting them go! Good job mama.

I did a double take at the title... I just sent an email to a friend with the same starting two words... *my* baby girl - who was just 2 the other day, it seems - flew 3100 miles to the East yesterday morning - to college.

I so remember that first over night camp. Then the first year she was a counselor for the whole summer at same camp. I had an inkling back then how fleeting those years would be - but now - it seems like they came and went in the blink of an eye.

Give your girl a good hug and kiss when she gets back - even if she protests! Every moment is precious!

wow this must be hard for you. I remember how devastated my mom looked when she was sending me to my first sleepaway camp. The children are growing very fast.

My 10yo son went to a week of sleepaway camp this summer, his first time. He was very excited about it (making his list, checking it, just like the OP's daughter), which made it easy for me to see that he had no qualms about going.

When we got in the car to go home, his little brother said, "This is going to be great! A whole week without Simon!" He promptly appropriated the top bunk and thoroughly enjoyed being an only kid while his brother was away.

To my surprise, although I did wonder what he was doing at odd moments of the day, I didn't miss my son very much. Maybe because I had such fabulous experiences at summer camp myself, and I felt sure he was having a great time, and was happy for him, having his first experience of the same thing.

OP, I wish the same for your daughter!

This is such a sweet post: thanks for sharing. I teach at a local university, and at this time of year, the campus is full of 3 or 4-people groupings--two anxious-looking parents, one slightly awkward but excited young person, and perhaps a sibling or two. For a long time I used to identify more with the kids being dropped off but now that my own kids are getting older (a first grader this year!) I can begin to imagine what their parents feel like.
Anyway, be it camp or college, such a mixed experience--there is so much anticipation, nervousness, exhilaration, and pride in those moments! I guess parenting is all about getting ready to let our kids go... (easy for me to say, with 6 and 3 at home!)

Aww, buck up matey. She is FINE! Having the best time, that is the WORST. When mine came back prattling on about how awesome the counselors were. . . .it took a minute.

I cried my eyes out when I dropped off mine to be a counselor this week. No check-in, no lice check. No "Note to my Child's Counselor"

I was reading the hipMama essay I wrote when she first went to this camp at age 7. I followed the damn bus from the pick up spot. Crying . . .in the rain.

When do I get to stop crying? And maybe homeschool University??? I am going to make a teen sling and I bet they will sell OUT!

What a concern mother.,surely mizz them when there not around.,

Hardwood adds such quality. I'm sure every time you walk in the door it gives you that happy feeling. No matter how you try to keep carpet clean it's impossible.

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