So we have arrived. This morning my little boy is going away for the first time for two days of Winter Sleep Away Camp with his school. Other than sleeping over at his maternal grandparents’ house when he was two years oldm and three one night sleep overs at his school in the last three years, he has never done a two stretch away from his father and I. We are all excited about this adventure, but nervous too. That is why I am using Michael’s term to describe this experience, “nervous/excited.” Michael is excited he will be doing all kids of fun winter activities with his friends like sledding, hiking, sports, and indoor games, as well as eating fun food like hamburgers and smores, campfires and songs. But he is nervous he will be away from us and is understandably not sure what to expect. The good news is that we were able to find some pictures of the camp on its website, and Michael being Mr. Google Maps, navigated from our house to the camp. I think that helped his nervousness a bit. It sure did mine. We also talked about how everyone gets nervous. It is normal, but that he would be fine.
I have to say that packing his suitcase for the trip went well. I had my favorite CD’s playing in the background so that I would move quickly through the packing phase without getting emotional. It worked. That is, I didn’t break down and cry or anything, though when it came time to put his Barney stuffed animal in with his sleeping bag (his choice as they are allowed to bring one stuffy), I did have a quick emotional moment, but it passed. I am looking forward to those two nights when I will have a little more me time, and Michael’s father and I will have some quality couple time. More on that in tomorrow’s blog. 🙂 I think I feel ready for this now, as I know Michael is mature enough to handle being away from us, and I know that he has all his friends there with him as well as the teachers and other support stuff. I don’t feel Mommy guilt anymore about wanting a night or two off from Mom duties. I didn’t think I would feel comfortable with this until he was in his teens, but I am glad to say that I have come to a point where I trust my son, I trust the school and I trust my own instincts on this that it will all go well.
Exceptional Parents, how do you feel about having your Exceptional Children sleep away from home at a camp with their school? How does your child feel about it? This is definitively not something to force on them if they tell you they are scared. Michael was a little nervous at first, but when he found out what would be happening at camp he became excited to go, so his father and I knew that it was the right time to try this. You must listen to your gut as a parent and to your child’s gut reaction. That is the best way to make a decision that is right for all concerned. Until next time.