"Mommy, can we have pizza Wednesday since it’s going to be my last night?”
This was my 5th grader’s request for the evening before her entire class goes to Camp Timber-lee; a program that offers school-age children the opportunity to participate in an overnight camp experience. As far as she is concerned she’s heading off to war or some other world that will prevent her from returning for a very long time.
I've never completely understood Camp Timber-lee. When I first heard about it my daughter was a baby and I couldn't fathom that I'd send her off someday on a bus. It didn't occur to me that the older she got I'd be more inclined because she was bigger and could actually take care of herself.
I am more inclined but secretly I still don't want her to go. I don't want her to be far away. There I said it. My daughter has done sleepovers at friends' houses but she's never been further than 10 minutes away. I don't like that I can't get to her quickly if she needs me. I don't want her to be on a long distance bus ride without me. I won't go into great detail about the basis of my fears because karma.
She has been packed for three weeks. She informed me that she'll be going to bed the night before at 8p. (Her usual bedtime is 9:20p precisely. That's her rule not mine.) She told me she'd be setting her alarm for 6:30a and would prefer to arrive at school the morning of at 8:00a rather than 8:15a the requested meeting time.
There's one decision she's made that has stopped me in my tracks. She's decided that she will not be taking her beloved Sleepy Bear with her to Camp Timberlee. In my family Sleepy Bear is a major player. He is her "Lovey".
Sleepy Bear is worn down, has been sewn and re-sewn, has a floppy neck and one ear. The fact that she is leaving him and instead taking her second Lovey-in-Command Clickety shocked me. She doesn't want to risk losing him she explained. I tried to play it off like, "Yeah, that's cool. Good decision. Makes sense." But inside I was grappling with how she is growing up and about to go into middle school, then adulthood where I'll only hear from her once a week on Sundays.
I told her we'd take good care of her Sleepy Bear while she's "out of town". For the past year I've wondered when she was going to grow out of him. Now I'll be glad when she comes back and wants him as soon as she arrives. Perhaps that will slow things down a little bit. Or give me some time to catch up.