Guest Post: Michigan Left Blog- No Tears At Band Camp

by farrah on June 28, 2012 · 6 comments

The cousin I idolized for years is now in the blogging game and burning it up on Twitter. I couldn’t be happier- as I know Kathleen’s a talented writer and has found this fun playground to romp. Today, I am leaving the ranch (insert silent sob here) so hopping from airport to airport and she was kind enough to guest post for me today. If you haven’t stopped by  ‘Michigan Left Blog’  yet, please do. And if you’re from Michigan- you can’t help but appreciate the name of her blog- kind of the definition of life, eh?

My son leaves for band camp tomorrow. In the early hours of the morning, we will pack up the SUV and drive two hours downstate to the University of Illinois. He will spend one week there, rehearsing and studying music all day, attending concerts at the Quad and other activities in the evenings, and sleeping in a dorm room each night with his best buddy as a roommate. He is about to turn 13 — he’ll celebrate his birthday at camp — and he has never been away from home without us for more than a day or two. He is ready for this. But am I?

When he was a baby, when my days were consumed with feeding and bathing him, laundering his clothes, picking up his toys, walking him to the park, rocking and singing him to sleep, I greedily anticipated the prospect of an hour to myself in the evenings. My husband would not so infrequently find me on the front stoop of our Chicago bungalow at 5 o’clock, dressed in my gym clothes, car keys in one hand, baby in the other, anxiously waiting to hand him our child so I could drive off in search of solitude. When a visit to Bally’s feels like sheer bliss, you know you are in desperate need of “me” time.

A great deal of those early years is a blur to me. Our daughter was born 10 months after my son’s first birthday. I stayed home with them full time while my husband worked, and the days were often long, monotonous, exhausting, demoralizing and chaotic. I remember nodding politely more than once when an older mom or grandma would smile knowingly at my double stroller and say, “You’ll miss this someday.” I would think to myself, “Are you nuts? I have a baby AND a toddler. I’m lucky if I sneak in a shower some days. Why on earth would I ever miss this madness?”

Well, guess what? I do. Go ahead, nod politely and think I’m crazy. But it’s true.

Now my days are spent getting two middle schoolers out the door in the morning, working from my home office while they’re gone, and chauffeuring them around town to swim practice, band practice, music lessons and outings with friends. Life is still hectic, but “me” time is no longer scarce; the kids have other things they want to do and places they want to be. The children I thought would never leave my side — although I sometimes desperately wished they would– are slowly letting me go. Their independent lives are beginning, and each new step takes them a little further from me but closer to themselves.

On the eve of my son’s band camp adventure, I am remembering drop-off at his first day of preschool, when he clung to the back of the driver’s seat in a toddler death grip, sobbing hysterically and begging me to take him home. I have a feeling I know who will be doing the crying when we drop him off at camp tomorrow. Let’s hope I don’t embarrass him too badly.

Connect: Connect with Kathleen’s Michigan Left Blog on Facebook and Twitter.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Brianne June 29, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Aww so sweet!And a good reminder to enjoy it while it lasts! Good luck with everything!

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2 Kathleen June 29, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Thanks, Bri! He is having a great time at camp. I think it’s been a really good learning experience for him to be on his own a little.

The husband and I spent a few days in Napa to get my mind off it. That definitely helped. 🙂

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3 Robbie July 1, 2012 at 3:52 am

very sweet. have you heard that quote..be careful what you wish for-you just may get it. This post makes me think of that. I’m still wishing for ME time but I imagine I will probably feel exactly like you do when the time comes.

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4 Kathleen July 2, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Thanks, Robbie. “Be careful what you wish for” definitely applies here. It’s such an adjustment to be needed differently — not less, just in other ways. I am grateful to have close bonds with both my kids and my husband. All four of us enjoy cooking and traveling together and have a lot of similar interests. These are the things I hope will keep us connected as a family as they grow into adults and beyond.

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