Friday, June 29, 2012

This one band camp...

I said it in the title so you don't have to later, but you will anyway.

Okay, so this morning at the gym I was watching a story on what to do when your child gets homesick at camp. As they were giving all of the handy dandy tips I was thinking, never happened. C never balked about going to camp or being at camp. He never flinched when getting dropped off at daycare. Not a sigh of discontent the first day of school. Didn't even blink when we left him on his first day of college, though at that one I went straight in to the ugly cry. He just never had that separation anxiety issue. Ever.

I can remember the first time we sent him to daycare. He had been a stay at home kid for three years by that point and this would be the first stretch away from Mom and Dad for any length of time. I was so worried that he would have a hard time. And as Brent and I dropped him off for his first day and we saw other kids his age start to cry as soon as they hit the door and realized their parent was leaving I started to panic just a little bit. What was I going to do when he started bawling? How was I going to possibly go to work knowing that my baby was miserable? Well he was fine. He went off to play with his group and never looked back. Now, when Brent picked him up he was filthy and hadn't eaten lunch so he only lasted at that school for three days. So you would have thought when we found a new school for him and dropped him off the second time he would be a little wary? Nope. Not at all. Off to join his group and didn't look back.

This was after Dad cleaned him up a bit.

Same thing every year for school. Every change in schools. Every change in cities and schools. The kid was just unflappable. I felt simultaneously smug and jealous when I would see the kids that would tear up when Mom and Dad walked out the door. Knowing that my kid was already playing and had no clue if I was there or not. The first time he went away for a long stretch was the week at Outdoor School in the 5th grade. I worried more than he did about how he would handle the time away, because of course, he handled it fine. As we dropped all of the kids off to catch the bus for camp there were parents fussing over kids who were anxious to go and then there were those of us standing in the cloud of dust our kids left behind like a cartoon character as they ran to leave us!

And every summer was the same. Band camp at the coast and then at Western. He never balked about going, couldn't wait to get there and really had no urge for us to stick around. I am sure there were parents there who would have stayed all week if they could have. But we were usually on the road again within a half hour of getting there. Long enough to check him in, move him in and see if he needed money for anything. 

Looking at colleges I kept trying to steer him towards the west coast. It was closer. He pointed out that no matter where he went he was going to be at least a plane ride away so it didn't really matter how long that plane ride was. (He might feel a little differently now that he's done the coast to coast commute a few times) So he wasn't concerned at all about going to school in Vermont. On the other side of the country. WAY far away from his parents. His school handled the hanging on parent issue by taking the kids away from you after you get them moved in, having you stay on the lawn for a few more speeches and then "inviting you to leave." Yes, that's how they put it. You are then invited to leave. So when they called the kids away by dorm  as soon as he left I broke right in to the ugly cry. And he joined his group and....

...was perfectly fine.

I had a handout from the college for things to watch for during freshman year while they were adjusting, the moment to wait for that they all go through where they don't want to be there anymore, they just want to be home. And of course, he never hit that point. It's not to say there weren't rough patches and adjustments for him during his freshman year, being an only child with two rooms to himself at home to being one of three people in a dorm room and one of the other two is a thief, well these are things you learn to deal with. And he did. He moved. And got a good quiet roommate in a dorm closer to class and things went along swimmingly. Last year by the time we got to campus to drop him off (Hurricane Irene sort of mangled our original travel plan) his room was already party central filled with his friends waiting to welcome him back and when I asked if he wanted to grab dinner before I headed back to the hotel it was, "No thanks, you can go." And this year he is going back to school three days before he has to to make sure he gets settled in with plenty of time before class starts. 

So yeah, when it comes to tips on how to handle a homesick kid I have no space to relate. But if you ever want to know how to handle the blow to your ego when you realize that you are not the center of your three year old's universe? That I can help you with....

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