For the past three years I have dreaded dropping my kids off at sleepover camp. In fact, when Michelle said she just wanted to attend a one week camp this year, I jumped on board fast!
“That is fine with me! Maybe Daddy and Michelle can do a special little trip while your sisters head off for a month.” That’ll fix ’em. I’ll take her to Disney World – we’ll see what they choose next year.
Lisa went to Camp Seafarer as a kid, and I work for the organization that owns the camps. I know it’s a great experience in so many ways – independence, leadership development, new friendships – but four weeks away is a long, long time. The house just seems so quiet and empty with them gone.
But this year, something was different. For the first time since Lisa died, I was able to see through their eyes. Instead of focusing on what I was going to miss, I was able to see what they were going to gain. They were so excited! They talked about friends they couldn’t wait to see, camp songs they wanted to sing and the skills they were going to master before coming back home.
DJ is a counselor in training this year and was fortunate to be chosen to work on her favorite activity, sailing. Stephanie ensures me that she will achieve her Sunfish Master, a difficult certification for a kid who never sailed until last summer.
Both planned their outfits and shopped for their needed camp items. They were quite independent in their quest to prepare for their journey.
And their dad, for the first time since I’ve been in charge of dropping them off on my own, was able to look beyond the dread 26 quiet nights and instead live vicariously through their joy. My excitement for them took away almost all of my angst.
I wish I’d do a better job of stepping back and putting myself in their shoes. Too often over the past three years I’ve been so wrapped up in my own selfish thoughts that I’ve missed seeing and celebrating the happiness of those around me.
I hope I’m beginning to make that transition – from selfishness to selflessness. Check with me in three more weeks, I should know by then.