This morning at camp check-in I hid my nervousness as I looked around us. I thought back to BoBo’s response when asked if he was excited about camp. He had told his Aunt Carol that he was going to be spending the next few days “watching the little kids.” His enthusiasm for going to camp was back down. When I had last checked, he was actually a little excited about it. I don’t know what changed his mind. I decided that I couldn’t make him to be happy about it; I can only make him go.
After the forms were turned in and the bags were bus-side, BoBo had retreated off to the curb. YaYa and I followed. All around us small groups of counselors presented over-the-top enthusiasm. Grouped by color, I could easily find YaYa’s red group. BoBo’s group, however, was unidentifiable.
I left the boys curbside and walked over to the red group. I asked for the whereabouts of the Outdoor Leadership Program. In the middle of all the groups sat a smaller group of counselors. They were more subdued but clearly a part of the camp. I escorted BoBo to his group and watched as he got acquainted.
It didn’t take a lot of coaxing to get BoBo to join in on the games. After all, it was a safe environment for BoBo to “play” and not be judged. How perfect was that for a teenager who has been forced to assume the “man of the house” role?
Once BoBo was settled, YaYa was hooked up with his group. It was interesting to observe the quieting of “Mr. Talk.” I joked with YaYa, telling him that the leaders were sure going to be surprised when he got comfortable. He smiled timidly at me.
The games began with YaYa’s group as I stood back and watched. When I could see that both boys were comfortable, I returned to their side for a hug good-bye. I hugged little YaYa and found that, this time, it was me who was afraid to let go. I could feel the tears surfacing and managed to hold them back until I hit the car. Nothing like a little Mommy Withdrawals.
I thought back to when Tom and I left BoBo for the first time. I had a bad case of Mommy Withdrawals then. Deep down I knew that BoBo would be safe and well taken care of while staying with his Grandma. On the surface of my mind, I thought only that he was just about 2-years-old. I was so worried about my little baby needing me while we were off gallivanting in Hawaii.
One night, Tom and I were eating dinner at a fancy restaurant. We had a wonderful view from our table. I took one look out the window and began to cry.
Tom just sighed and said, “Go call.”
After a brief update, Grandma called BoBo to the phone.
“Hi Mommy,” he said.
“Hi,” I said, “Mommy missed you and was calling to see what you are doing.”
“I am playing games with Aunt Kathy and Aunt Judy,” he said, “We went to the park and played on the swings, and I watched Angels in the Outfield on TV.”
“Oh, that sounds like fun…”
“Momma,” BoBo interrupted, “Do you want to talk to Grandma now?”
“Sure. Bye BoBo.
I didn’t need to call him again. I just needed to know that he was okay. My young men are growing up, but they will always be my babies no matter how big they are. It’s hard not to worry about them. I am sure that my boys will be okay this time too. And I suppose that I will be okay as well.