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I dropped my older girls at sleep away camp. “I can’t believe I won’t see you guys for 7 weeks!”

“Mom, it’s only 3 weeks. And we come home on the weekends.”

“Is that the camp we chose?! Huh. Okay, well, I’m still sad. What am I going to do with myself?”

Well, you have three other kids, a part time job and you’re going up north for the week.”

“Wow. It’s a wonder I even had time to drop you at camp!”

I brought my 11 year old to her bunk and then got my 9 year old settled in hers. I kissed her goodbye. Her eyes filled with tears. Which of course made my eyes fill with tears. She looked at the room of girls she didn’t know yet. And she pleaded with me to stay just a little bit longer.

I did.

And then it was time. The counselor was herding them out the door to start a full day of activities. They’re in the circus program which I’m reasonably sure doesn’t involve lions or anything. But I’ll be honest, I didn’t read the camp emails all that thoroughly.

Wear sunscreen, I beg, as a I back out the door.

Don’t borrow anyone’s hair stuff no matter how amazing it is!

Miss me so much but not too much but just enough so that you are missing me but having fun while you’re missing me.

Don’t forget to write today so we’ll actually get it before you’re home for the weekend.

You have to reapply the sunscreen! Not just put it on once and then forget about it. This is Florida. Please remember!!

And then it’s really time.

I say goodbye and walk back to my car.

When you have a baby, you can never get a breath. But then those babies grow and you start to realize, parenthood isn’t about saying hello. Not at all. It’s really about saying goodbye. For preschool, for camp, for school, for a sleepover, for college.

Letting kids go when they are ready to go.

Even if it’s just for five days until they’re home again.

My 6 year old has been sobbing for days. She didn’t want her big sisters to leave.

But I promised her, soon we will be saying hello.


4 Responses to sleep away camp just got real. sort of.

  • Lanie says:

    I am much better with the hellos. I have substituted “see you soon” for the goodbyes. I just cannot seem to say goodbye . . .

    Hoping that Summer and Dylan have an amazing time, apply sunscreen, use their own brushes and miss you just the right amount. xoxo (please give an extra hug to sweet Harlowe)

  • Bubbie says:

    Can’t wait to see the circus act. They will Iove it, it’s harlowe who will be sad with her wonderful big sisters. Can’t wait to see all of you

  • MN Mama says:

    Oh my goodness…. you are amazing and wonderful. Are all three weeks circus camp? I love it! Letting go can be hard but I think my girls have learned so much at sleepover camp and I have learned too. They are learning to be people which is the goal, right?

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kelcey kintner