Having survived (barely) the exodus of my youngest child for nearly a month earlier this summer, I am approaching the impending departure of my oldest in the morning (also heading to sleep away camp for the first time) with an eerie sense of calm acceptance.
He has helped me immensely by behaving as if he is not actually going anywhere.
While my daughter pestered me for months beforehand about the arrival date of her trunk, so that she could begin to pack all the clothes she had arranged to the exact specifications of the list*, my son had to be nagged into rummaging through his dresser for socks as the sun began to set tonight. Definitely looked to me like there were an odd number and several different colored specimens in the pile at the end, but he was good with it. He could not get out of REI fast enough, whereas my daughter and I spent hours and hours shopping together and debating the merits of each and every item of clothing and camp accessory. My daughter purchased her very own lock for her trunk, created a top secret combination, had me pre-address and stamp envelopes so she could write letters home, and carefully stowed a camera in a special waterproof case, along with a journal and her favorite stuffed animal. My son said he "is not a picture person", doesn't think he'll write**, and felt strongly that he did not need to bring anything extra for crazy hair day or the camp's "ever-popular cross dressing extravaganza"***.
Exasperated, he finally says to me, "Mom! I'll be gone for SIX DAYS. Would you please CALM DOWN?"
Fine. Point taken, Mr. Maturity. But, in the morning, when we get to that fateful goodbye hug at the bus stop, all bets are off for both of us.
* aka The Camp Bible, The Packing Commandments, The Law, and The Paper That Thou Shalt Check and Recheck at Least Twice Per Day, Every Day, Until it is so Tattered that Thy Mother Shalt Have to Request Another Copy By Email from the Nice Lady in the Camp Office Who Very Patiently Keeps Answering All Your Questions Like Can I Bring A Camera To Camp If I Am Very Careful With It.
** I put a card with my name on it in his bag anyway. Just in case.
*** Their description, not mine. Calm down?