We are off on an adventure in a few weeks.
The family is packing up the old station wagon and…
Wait. Not quite.
Part of the family is packing up and will be off on a European trek.
One of us is not. One of us has decided that camp is where she wants to be. Any guesses on who is not accompanying us?
Yes, the independent 13 year old.
In a decision that has caused many eyebrows to be raised along with several cries of disbelief, our girl has opted to stay her yearly course and attend summer camp instead of hoofing it all over Italy, France and Spain for two weeks. Her arguments were solid and we decided that this decision was hers to make.
She is on a mission for a paddle, a 10 year paddle, awarded to the most dedicated and long lasting of campers…a missed year would mess with this quest. The Summer of 2008 is not, for her, the summer we had her younger brother. It is THE summer we made her MISS CAMP in case she missed the arrival of her younger brother ( WHICH, she interjects at this very moment, DID NOT HAPPEN!)
As I type, she is sitting cross legged, in front of her worn camp trunk, tagging her clothing. She is not thinking about what she will be missing, but rather about all the goodness that summer camp brings her. I get it. I went to camp for years. Camp friendships take off where you left them the year before. Late night giggles, dirty days, tribal competitions, lake dips to chill and thrill, camp fire nights, confidantes and confidence.
While we are exploring piazzas and eating gelato, she will not be missing us. We will be missing her.
I wonder what she will think, looking back on this summer. Will she regret not coming? Will she recognize the parental leap we took in not forcing her to come with us ( because, of course, that is what we wanted )? Will she be grateful for the time she had at camp, realizing as an adult how fleeting the summers were in the larger scope of a lifetime? I am curious. There is always time for Europe, right?
Summer camp…not so much.