Last week was poignant. The baby of our brood headed off to Science Camp for five days. It is a rite of passage in this neck of the woods and she didn’t want to go. She has never been able to spend the night at friends houses because she would get “homesick” and end up back at home at 3 a.m. Obviously, this was a big deal.
Sometimes it is interesting what people are afraid of. Gracie is a champion diver. She falls from dizzying heights and lands in water that can be sharp and chill you to the bone. She has the courage of Spider Man and flies higher than a squirrel; yet nothing was scarier for her than leaving her Mommy and Daddy behind.
We tried many things to convince her that she would have a wonderful time up in the woods and that she wouldn’t miss us one iota. We bought tons of “girly girl” hair accessories so she could perform magic on her cabin mates hair. We bought a disposable camera for her to take pictures of all the fun she would be having. I stuck “love notes” in her suitcase that she could open one day at a time.
And finally the big day arrived. In the morning she sniffled a bit in protest but by the time she arrived at school she was talking with her friends like she had everything under control. A few minutes later she rode away on that big yellow school bus, hand out the window, waving goodbye with a big smile on her face. The last thing I saw of her was the back of her head while she giggled away with a friend. Then she was gone for five long days.
Yesterday, the big yellow school bus returned and with it a more confident and secure young woman. We hugged (Oh Mom, do we HAVE to!)and Gracie related a few choice camp facts. Then she went off to claim her luggage while I called B.
“We’re screwed,” I told him.
“Why’s that?” B replied.
“Because she now knows she can make it without us. We are no longer the people who keep her safe and secure in her mind. We are now officially relegated to accessory mode. ”
It was then I heard Gracie’s sweet voice.
“Come on mom, I need your help carrying my suitcase.”
And it was then that I realized that although I may be regulated to accessory status, my little girl still needs me a little bit even if it is just to carry a portion of her load.