Reunion with a Camper


There’s really nothing so fine as having missed your adorable child while he was happily ensconced at camp (missive number two reads in part, “Camp is still fun.”) and then going to pick him up and receiving a massive hug. It’s like one of the best hugs ever in the annals of amazing hugs. It’s followed by a few more massive hugs (heavenly, worth the early start and the drive right then and there). And on the way home, he mourns that without the camp community, his life will be bereft of hugs. Theme you could infer here is that hugs are a really wonderful entity.

But the real theme is that the experience of launching your kids isn’t a save-up-till-college or first apartment one. It’s incremental; it’s fits and starts. A friend let me take her adorable three year-old-daughter in our car from the co-op a couple of weeks ago so she and Saskia could play together; that was first-solo-ride-with-peer. And on it goes, countless moments of letting go. That is the point, letting go. I was reminded of how important practice is because—save for the lice crisis—to let Remy go this time—to his third summer at beloved camp—felt easy. And for him, the leaving—again, save for the buzzed head crisis—was easy, too. My job is to hold him well enough that he feels entirely free to go comfortably into the world. In order to do that, I have to feel joyful about his adventures away from me rather than cling to him. From there, we gain tools for when he’s not entirely comfortable about going, but still goes.

Bye Alpacas. See you next summer.

Of course, I am thrilled to have him back! Let’s be clear, no major launches in sight with him but when he said he thinks two sessions next summer, I didn’t even have to catch my breath; I replied, “That sounds great.” And I meant it.

He and Max are a little blue about leaving.

Plus, what’s not to love about Journey’s End Farm Camp and all the amazing ways my boy grew?

New calf doesn’t yet have a name.


But does any of this mean he’s okay with the enforced buzz now shared by two of his best pals? No, it does not. Second theme to infer is this: you never get smooth, smooth, unthinking sailing for long stretches when parenting. That’s a myth.

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Author: Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser's work has appeared on the New York Times, Salon, and the Manifest Station amongst other places. Find her on Twitter @standshadows

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