And there comes a time in a parent's life when she needs to let her child make his own way a bit -- finding his footing, making mistakes or not. She has to trust that he'll be all right, and that sometimes it's best not to know about every social slip-up or unchanged pair of undertrousers.
Enter the great American tradition known as Summer Camp.
Some of my fondest childhood memories were nurtured along the shores of Lake Ossipee, N.H., at Camp Nellie Huckins for Girls. Camp songs are etched into my memory as indelibly as my name is on the rafters of certain wood-framed cabins, with their slamming screen doors and their lack of air conditioning. Want to hear a great little musical ode to black socks?
I think that what camp meant most to me was the opportunity to be someone different. My middle school persona was introverted and almost unbearably self-conscious. The first day of my second year of camp, I discovered that there was an extrovert living inside who was perfectly capable of smiling confidently at the new girl in the cabin, welcoming her to camp, and becoming her best friend.
This felt like the right summer to launch my own boy's ship of self-discovery. And after much thought, prayer, and discussion we fixed him up with two buddies and dropped him off two days ago at Frontier Camp.
He seems okay, don't you think? (Overbearing Mom sneakily snaps son's photo before leaving her baby's physical, psychological, and spiritual wellbeing in the stewardship of virtual strangers for a week.)
You know, back in the day, parents dropped their kids off for two, four, or even eight weeks in the woods and hoped for an occasional letter. My child is at camp for six days, and we get nightly updates and photos from the Director. And, if that's not enough, we can follow the Camp on Twitter. And believe me, I do.
But so does his friends' mom, so I'm not completely alone in the world.
There's just one problem. This was posted on Twitter before dinner tonight: The lake grill is fired up and the burgers are being flipped. It's time for supper at the lake followed by the famous SHAVING CREAM SLIDE!
I think we may have a problem getting our son to come home.