oh my girl.
i write this with such a heavy heart. i dropped you off at camp yesterday and it was like watching a hi 8 of myself. you were all independence and strength on the ride there. you were so exited. you have never shied from the unknown. my favorite goose quote was from your orientation day to preschool. it was only meant to be and hour or so and parents were to stay. we got in the door of the school and you said, “ok mommy, thanks for the ride. see you at noon.” you were 3.
you make friends easily and aren’t threatened by the unknown because you have faith in your ability to meet life head on (oh you poor thing. this leads to the shock we feel when it becomes obvious that we can’t master everything we face. for me it’s math and you it’s spelling. good thing for calculators and spellcheck. no one has to know. but it still sticks in our crawl.)
we pull into the parking lot and though you have been chatting up a storm on the ride up you are now QUIET. because there was a pretty bad storm yesterday, we got to check in on the later side of the 2-4pm window. this means that bunks have been chosen and all of the other girls are at the dinning hall waiting for the orientation meeting. you stand in the cabin frozen. i can see your wheels spinning, but i think the mouse has jumped off the wheel and you are in survival mode. so i chose your bunk from the last 3. you had said previously that you wanted a top bunk, but in your stupor, you seem unable to make that distinction today. so i throw your sleeping bag and pillow on the last remaining top bunk and we turn to go. we get down the steps of the cabin and you slip your hand into mine. you don’t usually mind holding my hand, but i know you are doing it now for the comfort it gives you. the moment i make this realization, a lump rises to fill my throat. don’t let her see you sweat, i think to myself. just get to the car. you just have to get her squared away and then this can be about you.
we hit the steps of the dinning hall and your counselor looks back. i say, “this might take a minute”, i had just looked into your face and with highly trained eyes, witnessed the tiniest of lip quivers. i hug you hard, as much for me as for you. you step back from me, take a deep breath and give me a nod to let me know you are ready.
you, my long legged, lanky girl, so strong, so capable, walk up those steps and don’t look back. on the way to my car, the head counselor, having seen this exchange, says, “they all miss their moms”.
what he doesn’t know is i will miss you more.
i get into my car, i work my way down the LONG driveway. once out onto the main road, i let it come. since i have known you, i have defined myself as a mother. i just might have to spend the next five days learning how to just be me.
i find myself holding onto the thought, “i loved you first.” no matter what happens in your life, “i loved you first”