Guest Contributor: Stephen Gosewich, Dad Blogger
How do I feel…how do I feel? It has been a week since my 13 year old daughter left for overnight camp in northern Ontario.
Before she left, she told my wife and I that she was looking forward to a bit of distance between us…that she needed a break from us.
Of course, the feeling was mutual, since anyone who is a parent of a teenager knows that these are challenging years; lots of yelling, disagreements, bad moods…you name it!
So, here we are a week in and we have one week to go before we pick her up and return her to civilization.
Do we miss her? Absolutely. No question that our house that is normally populated by four people feels incomplete and not the same since she has been gone. It has been a lot quieter and less stressful too. Fewer yelling matches…less money spent on groceries…very laid back.
But, I miss her. We celebrated my mother’s 75th birthday today and Molly wasn’t there. She was noticeably absent and I thought a lot about her while we were at the restaurant..wondering what she was up to.
Funnily, we talked about what she is going to be like when we pick her up next week…what kind of mood is she going to be in.
Is she going to be happy to see her mom and I? What about her little sister? Is she going to be happy to return home? Is she going to be in a rotten mood because we are coming to take her away from her new found friends and fun camping environment? Understand that she is coming home to another four weeks of being a counselor in training at a day camp…where all her buddies are…so its not as if she is coming back to a hellish existence.
I remember how I felt when the buses came to take me back home to my family after my time at overnight camp. I remember the smell of the diesel engines as the buses arrived at camp the morning of our departure home.
I remember the feel of my mother’s arms wrapped around me when she saw me get off the bus when we got back home. I remember the blast of air conditioning in the car when we loaded it up and started to make our way home.
I remember walking in the door to our house and the air conditioning chilling my skin and seeing my bedroom for the first time after 6-8 weeks of being away from it. It felt strange but familiar too.
I remember my mother going through all the dirty clothes that I brought home from camp and how it took her a whole 3 days to get through all the laundry…including blankets, sleeping bags…everything.
I remember being treated like a king…being asked what I wanted to eat my first day back for dinner…and how I would sleep so deeply and soundly and long my first night back in my bed.
I remember my mom giving me hell for my foul mouth as I mistakenly used camp language around the dinner table with my family and how I used a whole new vernacular of silly expressions that only cabin mates and fellow camp buddies could understand.
I remember it took me a few days to get used to the routine of being home.
Did I miss camp when I got home? No..not really. Don’t get me wrong…I had a wonderful time going to overnight camp as a kid (an even better time working on staff at camp…days off were awesome!). But as is often the case when you go away for a period of time…the best part is returning home. There is nothing like the feel of your own bed!
So…now that we are less than a week away before I have to pick her and her friend up and take them home…how is SHE going to feel about coming home? What will her memories be…what kinds of friendships will she have made? Will she keep in touch with these people when she is back in the city? Did she master a new activity (she is suddenly into sailing)…did she meet any nice boys? Will she give me a big hug when she
steps off the bus and sees me for the first time?
Stephen Gosewich is an aspiring enlightened male. He spends his weekdays as a commercial real estate professional, and all other times just hanging out with his wonderfully supportive wife and two very active and inspiring daughters. He loves blogging, spinning and practices yoga. You can read his blog at www.theenlightenedmale.wordpress.com