What a long week it was. You know, I wanted to relive my life through my daughter. But as soon as daddy and I dropped her off, I questioned my actions. As I left her, standing in the cabin she would be living in for the next week, with her counselor and a few of her cabin mates, I went to give her a hug and a kiss goodbye. She took the hug, but turned her head for the kiss. I laughed, saying "OK, I did the same when I was younger" then turned around to leave. I did a quick side glance, to see what her reaction was as I left the cabin, and I saw it. They typical shy stance that I've learned from her: shoulders slumped forward, arms folded across her chest, slowly walking forward towards the other girls
Did I make the right decision? Is she ready for being away from us for a week, with no contact? At that point, I was regretting sending her to summer camp. We were driving down the hill, and I called the camp office – wanting to make sure she could call us if she needed to. They advised me that if all else fail on their part; they would let her use the office phone.
OK, so now what?
Freedom right? This week we aren't parents! Yeah right. Not a single day went by that we didn't think of her, wonder if she was having fun. Worrying about her, did she make friends?
By Wednesday, I lost track of what day of the week it was. I'm driving home from work and can't remember if today is Wednesday or Thursday. (If it was Thursday I'd be picking her up the next day). I got home, checked the mail. No letter. Checked the voicemail…no message.
On Friday the excitement was running through my veins. Yea!! She's coming home today!!! I leave work at 3 to drive to Goshen. I take a couple of wrong turns; get stuck in traffic on I 90. But, finally make it! (3 ½ hours later!!)
As I drive down the very long and bumpy dirt road that's bringing me into the middle of a forest, my stomach tightens. The excitement and fear and worry are all combining together in the pit of my stomach. I see the sign "Camp Howe" and pull along into the camp area – seeing all sorts of people putting luggage in their cars and kids hugging their mom's and dads. Amazingly, I see a girl who has her long brown hair pulled back into a ponytail. It's her!!
I pull up beside her, roll down my window and hear "Mommy!!" We stare at each other for a few moments, tears welling up in both our eyes. I look in the rear-view mirror to clean them up, and notice a long line of cars behind me. The reunion has to wait. I tell her I'm going to park the car and will come back. I get to the parking lot as quickly as I can (without hitting any campers) and run back to her cabin.
I peek in. She sees me. She comes running out, gives me this look of despair and hugs me. Tears are falling like a waterfall. I think to myself. "Oh no, she had a horrible time! I'm the worst mom in the world!" So I ask her, "Didn't you have fun?" She says, "Mommy, I had the best time ever! I just missed you so much!!" and we continued to hug and cry for a good 10 minutes.
After a while, she looks up at me and says "Mommy, thank you for living your dreams through me."
What more can I say.
Sometimes, it's not so bad to re-live your life through your children.
The camp's staff was amazing. They have left a great impression not just on my daughter, but me as well. She wants to go back next year, for two weeks this time.