Barrett, my oldest, started camp this week. It’s a day camp. I’m not sure I can handle more at this time. He was up very late the night before unable to sleep. He was more excited then the first day of school! If school instructed with BB guns, bow and arrows, horse rides and all the other camp activities he’d be a full time, life time student.
As we drove to the camp yesterday morning I found my mind reeling with scenarios to warn him about and random pieces of advice. In the end I kept my mouth shut and warned him of the usual; manners, listening, following rules… He annoyed me to a point of murder while we registered him and got his paper work in order. “Can I just go? Are we done yet? Hurry up mom!” He’s lucky there were witnesses once again. His behavior did make it easier to push him off to camp. He might have done it on purpose. I met his camp counselor Gummy Bear (I don’t understand it but it makes perfect sense to Barrett so I just go with it) and Barrett ran off and found a hula hoop to show off his mad hooping skills. The counselor was authentically impressed. Well played Barrett!
At that moment I realized he was his own person. No longer connected to me full time. He is making his own decisions and boss of himself when I or Scott are not around. He makes his own friends not just the kids I place in front of him. He’s…A BIG BOY! That feeling is a slight relief of pressure but brings about a whole new fear. All these “what if’s” start playing themselves out in my head. I know that in the future my fears will change as he ages and enters different stages of development. That doesn’t make me feel better. I left him amongst fellow campers and pulled a whiny 4 year old “I’ll miss Barrett” and a back arching toddler who wanted to walk through the parking lot back to the car. Quickly I dropped Barrett from my concerns and focused on keeping the other two alive.
When Barrett’s first day concluded I was there with bells and whistles to pick him up. I was excited to hear about his first day at camp. The next scene played out like an old western film.
“The sheriff traveled to the town over to collect her convict. She knew he frequented the area and knew she’d find him amongst his own kind. A simple flash of her badge and the town elders backed out of her way. They knew of her reputation and knew she was there to collect what was hers. As the elders dispersed wanting nothing to do with what was going to happen next the sheriff locked eyes with her soon to be prisoner. His eyes shown brightly through his blue rimmed glasses that were shaded by his camo hat. Dirt smudges covered his face, arms and legs. He might be needing a dip in the ‘ole whiskey barrel before slop time. Through the shade of a large pine tree she could see the gleam of excitement riddled with something she rarely saw. Defiance. Or was is an air of confidence? It reminded her of a man preparing himself for battle. With a can in hand he slowly approached the sheriff. Backpack slung over one shoulder he stopped two feet from the sheriff. The Good The Bad and The Ugly whistled though the yard as the boy planted both feet firmly into place.
“What’s that in your hand?” the sheriff asked nodding slightly to the object in his right hand.
“It’s a soda and I get to have as many as I want. And for snack guess what I had?”
“SKITTLES! BLAHAHHAAHHAHAH” the parolee laughed diabolically. Knowing the sheriff couldn’t take what he had already consumed. He was escorted to the sheriff’s vehicle and transported back to prison.
(Aunt Vicki, I was not driving)
This morning he discussed his plans of Gatorade and Starbursts. I guilt tripped him into pretzels instead. I doubt he’ll follow through. LORD help me! Going to camp is better then going to a grandparents house if he gets sodas and candy for his two snacks a day! So to make it clear to all my kids I’ve given up, Merrick got to have 3 sips and Kierran even got one. Addicts they all are. Sugar ADDICTS I SAY! On a positive note he’s proven to me that he is still in need of me. He is not ready to make his own decisions about proper snacks so I have a bit more educating to do. Not ready to sever the umbilical cord completely I smile and drive him home.