Someone recently told me that they had never left their eight year old child overnight.
“Not even with his grandparents?” I inquired.
“Nope!” She shared it as if it were a badge of honor. It’s no badge. It’s just weird – unless the grandparents are like kid killers or something.
I finally have all three of my girls back under one roof! Tonight will be our first night in the same house since Sunday, July 15. That is a long time.
As much as I missed them while they were out experiencing the world, and as much as I wanted to go pick Stephanie up on her third week of four-week camp, I am so grateful that my kids had the ability to grow. It’s no secret that I have limitations as a father. There are simply things I can’t teach them. But it’s not just because I’m a man and they’re girls. Part of it is that I am their parent, and they’ll only listen so much. Part of it is that I have a singular world view: mine. And as right as it is, they need to compare it to others so that they can formulate their own ideas about how to live life.
DJ is becoming an accomplished sailor through her time at summer camps – a great confidence builder I think. She certainly wouldn’t have discovered that talent in a family room with a landlubber.
Stephanie has developed incredible confidence. I’ve told her for years how wonderful she is – but sometimes it means more coming from a 50-year-old camp director she absolutely adores.
Michelle battled homesickness – and won. She was given the Most Determined award at camp. Talk about making lemonade out of lemons. She was recognized because she struggled and overcame.
I’m not sure she would have struggled or had the opportunity to overcome had she been at home sitting on the couch with me. I think I’m just a good dose of comfort for her.
Some of my happiest memories of childhood are from the weeks I spent in Florence, SC, with my grandparents each summer. I’d pump gas at Papa’s service station. Granddaddy Tanner would take me for a Slurpee. I remember making a masking tape and shoe polish covered lamp with grandmamma Ham, and I’d lay on Idee’s bed each morning and talk about life while she “put on her face.”
Oh the stories I heard. Oh the lessons I learned.
I don’t want my kids to be replicas of me. They can do better.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but better comes from experience and experience happens away from my house.
So let them go, and let them grow. And then enjoy the heck out of them when they return.