This weekend Molly and Grace went away to Girl Guide camp with their Brownie unit. You’ll remember that the three of us went to Mom and Me camp for March Break, which I blogged about in excruciating detail. (Except for the last day, because I lack follow-through.) But this is the first time that they have been away without us other than once at their nana’s and Grace has been to 2 sleepovers at friends’ houses. So this was a big deal.
Grace was brave and excited from the beginning, so I wasn’t really worried about her. Molly was another story. She took a couple of weeks to carefully consider if she even wanted to go on this trip, and even then I could tell she was nervous. And she doesn’t know this, but I was extremely nervous. I was afraid that she wouldn’t get up in the morning or keep up with the group, or that she would feel left out because I don’t think she has really made any friends that she hangs out with there. I was also afraid that she would be able to do all of these things, but that it would be a huge pressure on her trying to keep herself together, and she would be a giant ball of anxiety when she got back.
To put it in context, as a child, in my mind the idea of being sent away to camp was the worst possible thing that my parents could do to me. So just the fact that my kids even want to try it makes them the bravest kids in the whole wide world in my book.
When it was time to put them on the bus, Grace was still very excited, but also starting to give a bit of a nervous smile. Her BFF was going as well, so I felt like she had a bit of an extra safety-net going into it. Molly was coaching herself with pep talks…”I can do this Molly. I can do this.” Once she was on the bus she was giving me that wavering smile that is forced, and looks like it may dissolve into sobs at any moment. The straw that broke the camel’s smile was when they moved Grace and her friend into the same seat as Molly and she felt squished. That’s when the tears came.
And that’s when I started typing into the notepad of my iphone and holding it up to her window so that I could communicate with her.
I think Apple is going to use us in their next TV ad.
After some hugs of her bunny, she settled down, and they both put on big smiles for this picture right before the bus pulled away.
I’ve been on edge the entire weekend, waiting for a late-night phone call. The knock on our door at 11:30 Friday evening, that had the sound of either my father or a police officer, did not do much to calm my nerves. I’ve never been so relieved to have a drunken young whippersnapper turn up at my door.
Poor Maggie began packing her suitcase on Thursday and declaring “I’m going to China!” Ever since then it has been an endless loop of that, followed by “Sleepover. L’s house. Kajamas (that’s Maggie-speak for pajamas)” L is Grace’s BFF, and all 3 are in the same class at school, so I think Maggie was convinced that her sisters were over at L’s house having a grand party. Next was a string of demands for a birthday party for Grace. “Grace lala presents. A birthday party? Streamers? Goody bags? Balloons?…” Clearly we do not entertain enough for Miss Partygirl’s liking.
|A suitcase full of essentials (stuffies) ready for a trip to China.|
The whole weekend went by without a peep from Brown Owl, and they arrived back today with smiles on their faces. The biggest surprise for me was that Molly says she wants to go to another one, and loved it, whereas Grace has decided that she no longer wants to go to summer camp because a week is too long to be away from us.
Selfishly I kind of enjoyed hearing that, because this is the kid who has been taking off running to tackle every challenge without even a backward glance ever since she was a little tot. She has always squirmed out of our arms and been far too busy for cuddling, and giving me the teenage “you’re embarrassing me” wave since junior kindergarten, so it’s comforting to learn that she isn’t in that big of a hurry to grow up.
One thing that never changes is that no matter how well I think I know my babies, they never cease to surprise and amaze me.