Free to Fly
When I first learned of the possibility of my 12-year-old going off to summer camp in Deerfield, Massachusetts, my heart clenched. My first reaction was to hold him back; I felt he was too young. This was a mainstream summer camp, nothing Waldorf or Steiner about it, so I wasn’t sure he would be in nurturing arms. But I didn’t say anything until I had processed my thoughts and emotions. I decided to talk to him about it and see how he felt. If I had sensed any kind of anxiety, I would have put my foot down. He seemed excited and ready for it. Still, I told myself that I would check in every few months to see if he was truly ready. He seemed to be.
It was only two nights before the trip when he admitted he was looking forward to the plane ride, but felt a bit iffy about camp. I asked if he still wanted to go. Of course, he said. Was he anxious? A little. I told him to just think that every child at camp was probably feeling the same way and that seemed to appease him. Before I knew it, he was off.
He called me a few days after he landed at camp, so I figured the day he called was the designated time for calls. Imagine my surprise when he told me they could call anytime they pleased. That’s when I knew my boy was ready. Each time he calls (once or twice a week), he’s just full of stories of places he’s been, the wonders he’s seen, and my heart is full.
When he was little I was criticized for being “neurotic” and being around him all the time, of not wanting to leave the children with the help, etc., etc. But now I know being close has paid off. When you’re around them all the time as they are growing, they step out into the world with much more confidence later on.
He’s doing so well. He is surrounded by nature and friends from all over the world. I know in my heart that holding them close makes them all the more ready to explore the world without fear, when the time is right.