Someone once said to me, “parenthood is the grandest adventure you will ever have. But remember, you are always preparing your child to enter the world without you. Your goal, in the end, is to raise an independent human being. It is a grand adventure with the greatest goal there is.”
I’ve always kept that in mind while raising Michael. I was never the mom who cried at the first day at school, or who found milestones sad, really. Children grow up, that is what they do. They grow up, and they leave us. My greatest wish is for Michael to be a productive member of society. Without me. Sometimes I feel like the getting there is going to kill me, but I know that that is the goal, and the goal means that he has to go experience grand adventures on his own.
We dropped Michael off at overnight camp for the first time this morning. He has never been an exceptionally clingy kid, having spent nights away from us before. But I wasn’t sure how he would handle a week away from us. He has been talking about overnight camp since last summer, when he really wanted to go but I didn’t think he was ready. I wanted his first overnight camp experience to be nothing short of awesome, so I made him wait a year. Looking back now he probably was ready, but for the past year he repeated, almost, daily, “this summer I go to overnight camp, right?”
And he did. And when we dropped him off he basically looked at us and said, “see ya later bye.” We lingered for a while and helped him unpack, but really, that was more for us then for him. There were moments when I hought he was thinking “why are you still here?”
It is strange, thinking that for the next 6 days Michael is off having this grand adventure that I will know nothing about. I’m so used to picking him up every day and hearing about what he did, the good and the bad. And while Doug and I have are own fun planned, like Book of Mormon tickets and a weekend in DC, I know that our adventures will pale in comparison to his.
There is something so freeing about that first time you are away from your parents. About learning that you really don’t need mom and dad to make every single decision for you, good and bad. About taking those tiny steps that get you to be the independent person you will one day become.