Jack just got back from a week at 6th grade Science Camp, an event he’d been looking forward to for about seven years. The trip is a “right of passage” of sorts for the middle school students, and for many—Jack included—it’s the first time away from home.
He packed enough clothes for a month. As I kissed him goodbye, I placed bets with a friend on whether or not he would come home in the same clothes he left in!
|All ready to roll!|
I held myself together better than I expected as I hugged him goodbye. I felt myself choke up just a little as he squeezed me a little longer, a little harder than normal. But thankfully, my sunglasses hid any sign of tears!
We got daily emails from Jack’s teacher, giving us a brief recap of each day and letting us know that all was well.
When the bus pulled back into the school on Friday afternoon, he got off the bus looking a little older, a little more independent. But he wasn’t too grown up to give me a side hug, in front of his friends, nonetheless!
Over dinner Friday night, we got a complete recap of the week, including every hike, every meal, and every moment in between.
He joined five “clubs” over the week:
- The “Hard Core” Club: this entailed eating an entire apple…core and all
- The “Polar Bear Club”: this one required him to dip his entire head in an ice cold stream, and hold it there for 10 seconds.
- The “Banana Slug Club”: to join this one, students had to KISS a banana slug. Better than kissing a girl, I suppose!
- The “Scrub Club”: this one wasn’t an intentional club…to become a member, you had to slip and fall, on accident!
- The “Waste Warriors Club”: this one meant going three meals without wasting any food. No big surprise here…Jack is quickly taking over Steve’s title in the house as the human garbage disposal!
He had great counselors, and his teacher is a rock star for putting up with thirty 6th graders 24/7 for the week!
|Jack with his teacher, Mr. Wheeler|
|Counselors Conner & Nick were Awesome!|
It’s interesting how the family dynamics shift when one person is missing. I’ve noticed it over the last two and a half years that Steve has been working in LA, how we adapt to fill the void. But with a child missing, it's even stronger. Grant missed his best buddy. But he also was a lot more pleasant without a big brother intentionally bugging him a lot of the time! It’s almost as if a family is like a puzzle. Each piece is unique and beautiful in its own way, but it takes all of them together to complete the picture.
I think these little jaunts of independence stretch the apron (and heart!) strings to better prepare us for the eventual “launch”.
And in case you’re wondering (and much to my surprise!), Jack showered twice during the week. But he came home in the same sweatshirt he was wearing when he left!
|Before...and after. Same sweatshirt.|