We delivered Alison to Flat Rock River Camp this afternoon. She was excited. I was less so.
It's not that I don't want her to have a camp experience. It's not that I don't trust her to keep herself alive and with all her limbs. It's not even that I mistrust the flock of total strangers who are now in charge of her care.
I'm just going to miss her.
OK. I don't trust the teenagers and I'm worried that she'll come home so grown up that she won't need me anymore. And that she'll be in a horrible accident and get hurt. And that she won't fit in and thus be unhappy. And I AM going to miss her.
Agh. Parenthood sucks!!!!!
Yesterday afternoon, I came back from seeing Lyn and Amy to hear Ali calling, "Hey Mom, guess what I'm doing?"
I thought she was in her room, but she was in mine where I'd put her little suitcase. Armed with a pencil and the list of things to pack for camp as outlined by the camp brochure, she was busy packing her own suitcase. She'd checked off the first column when I walked in.
"Uh, Mom: What's a toiletry?" she asked. It was her first hint of hesitancy over the whole idea of camp. She relaxed immediately upon getting the definition.
This morning, she and I were awake before Jeff and she was anxious to wake him up for his "lesson." She's put him in charge of her 35+ virtual pets and she needed to show him how to log on to find them and then care for them. She'd told me that she was planning to ask him to be her pet sitter.
"Um. Hello. What's wrong with me as your pet sitter?" I'd asked.
"No offense, Mom, but you don't really take very good responsibility with your own pets," she said. "I think Dad will do a better job."
It's true. It was under duress that I had agreed to let her sign me up for my own Facebook pets. (I learned this morning from the NY Times that they guy who invented that silly game is the newest gazillionaire and Silicon Valley stud.) I find that amazing.
Jeff is finding it more responsibility than he'd originally thought. At first, he was thrilled that she'd entrusted her pets to him. Then, he found out just how much work it actually is -- and if he doesn't log on as he's promised, Alison won't earn a new frog and pig.
"How did I end up getting so ripped off?" he said. "I had no idea there was so much involved. This stinks."
She gave him his lesson, complete with a written set of instructions and advice. It took at least 30 minutes before she was comfortable with his level of understanding.
Today, she loaded herself down with her backpack, suitcase, pillow and sleeping bag and was struggling to move toward the front door. "It's time to go, isn't it?" she panted, getting about a foot a minute. You could barely see her head amid the baggage.
We relieved her of most of her burdens on the way out the door.
On the way to camp, we learned that there is a Flat Rock, Indiana, and a Flat Rock River Camp. They are not within the same county. Thank God Indiana is fairly compact and that Lisa Vielee is a veteran camper. She set us off in the southeasterly direction instead of due south as I'd planned. (Phew!)
At the camp, we figured everything out, Alison and Helen got top bunks together as they'd wanted and it was "Bye Mom! Bye Dad!" They were chatting from atop their new beds and needed nothing from either of us.
I handled it pretty well, I thought. No tears. No sobs. We went outside and were chatting with John and Lisa when a blur of red flashed down the hill beside us.
I think we'll never know if she was en route to the Trading Post for a bag of Skittles or if she really wanted one last hug (she has a touch of Eddie Haskell in her.) But there she was.
Jeff shouted, "Hey! What are you doing out here?"
She jumped on him, hugged him and choked out an, "I'll miss you." Then it was my turn. I don't think I let any of the tears actually fall, but she sure got me misty. If she was channeling Eddie Haskell, she was doing a good job.
We hugged it out and she went back up the hill, Jeff dragging me off to the car and telling me to stop looking back.
We wandered across Indiana a little bit as we meandered back toward the Flat Rock I thought we'd be heading to originally. It's very near Columbus, Indiana, and we'd planned to have dinner with Larry, Shirley and Lori.
It was a glorious day for a drive in the country, and the miles we logged helped clear my head a little bit. She's going to have a great week.
Jeff has plans that should make it a good week for us, as well. If I can just get used to the house being so quiet, I may even cooperate.