My eldest son is away at his first school camp as I write this. It feels like more of a milestone than I anticipated because watching him pack and prepare has made me realize how far he has come and how much he has grown up.
My husband put his name down to attend camp and when he wasn’t chosen, I must admit that I was disappointed. Because this was our son’s first camp, we felt it would make such a difference to have his Dad there to cross the threshold, to be present so that he could offer support and guidance.
Our Son’s initial disappointment that he would be “flying solo” was soon replaced by acceptance, and with that transition he seemed to mature before our eyes. While he was certainly nervous, he was equally excited and I realized that had his Dad been joining him, he wouldn’t have had the experience of feeling those emotions that are so essential to growing up. Nervous excitement is a crazy, wonderful, glorious thing because it takes courage to go forward and the reward when you are on the other side feels so good because you know that you overcame a challenge and had a freaking cool time in the process.
One of the coolest things to see was our son mentally building himself up. By allowing him the space to feel and process the emotions he was experiencing, we were able to witness his own self-assurance in saying “I am going to have a great time on this camp. I AM going to have a great time”.
I can now see that tackling this challenge on his own was the best support we could have given him as he needed to look inward for confidence and reassurance. In doing so, his resilience has just skyrocketed, and I feel so grateful that he has been able to have this amazing opportunity for growth.
Now that he is there, I am sure that we are missing him more than he is us. This has been as much a lesson in letting go for us as it has for him.