Baby Steps

I’ve sent my oldest son off to week-long Scouts camps three times now, plus a 5 day camp for military kids.  Each time, it has gotten easier to say goodbye.  Of course, the little worrier voice in my head will try hard to remind me of natural disasters striking Scouts, but I’ve not been too concerned with the boy himself having fun or not.

Of course, each of these camps, he went along with kids he knew.  And trusted adults helped him through that first camp that began a few weeks after his dad deployed.  Between homesickness and missing his dad, it was a tough one.

Yesterday, I drove him out to a vocations camp our diocese is having.  Even though he didn’t know anybody else going, I was sure he’d do just fine.  He is a reserved boy, but he is also extremely likeable.  All he needs is the invitation to be included in some activity and he’ll jump in and be a great team player.

But still, not knowing anybody made him nervous.  It would make me nervous too.  I’ve gone to conferences and talks alone, and wondered if I’d have anybody to talk to, if anybody would let me sit at their table during lunch, if anybody would recognize me as that obscure mom-blogger with the stupidest blog name ever…typical middle-school worries, which are appropriate for my 13 year old son, but less understandable in a 40 year old woman.

Anyway.

Poor kid complained of headaches and stomachaches all week long as yesterday approached.  It was a 3 hour drive, and we stopped for lunch.  He ate 2 bites of his sandwich and then put his head down, a sure sign that the kid is full of angst.  After signing him in and dropping off his gear, he was pointed in the direction of the basketball courts where a dozen young men were playing pick up games.  I watched him slowly drag himself in that direction.  I took my time in the van, setting my GPS for home, firmly buckling my seat belt, making sure all the kids were set and had no pressing needs.  I backed up and headed out, watching my son’s progress toward the courts.  I saw him tentatively step onto the surface and wait for a welcome, an invitation to join a group.  5 seconds…10 seconds…15 seconds…and then I had to choose: stop the car like a worried mother hen and make sure that my little boy had playmates before I left for home, or continue down the drive where he was out of sight and trust that somebody would notice him soon and include them in their game.

With a lump in my throat, I drove on, leaving him to make his own niche in that corner of the world.

He’s fine; I know he’s fine.

But with this child, my oldest, I am learning that growing up is as much about me becoming an adult as it is about him maturing.

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5 thoughts on “Baby Steps

  1. The giant lump in my throat as I read your post prevented me from taking a slurp of coffee. sigh. My oldest is only 4, but I'm finding these little baby steps towards growing up pretty painful.

    And by the way, I don't think your blog name is dumb. Now mine? Yeah, pretty lame. 😉

  2. I'd have waited and watched. 🙂

  3. This was Will's 3rd year going to Boy Scout camp as a Provo (a scout not attending with a troop). I worried the first year, but this time I dropped off his gear and was out the door in about 15 minutes. He is much more socially adept than both his parents, I don't fret about that at all, it is the call from the camp, “Your son has broken his collarbone,” that makes me nervous.

    However, I'm salivating about the summer he is 15 and can be a CIT because he will not be pestering his sisters for 4 whole weeks!

  4. You are braver than I. {{{Hugs}}}

    Not at all the same, but my son had his very first overnight without any parents. Special needs not withstanding, it was very hard on me. Not so much on him. He says he did not miss me one bit. Stinker.

  5. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!

    I am offering up the annoyances I experience this week with my college student who is anxious and impatient to get back to school where he has no younger brother in his face and no parents with chore lists…all for you and your son this week.

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