My more youthful son is gearing up for his 1/3 summer season at sleepaway camp: weeks of early-morning jumps within the lake, canoe tripping, campfires, s’ mores, and now not showering even as soon as.
There’s any other factor he gained’t does even as soon as whilst he’s gone: choose up a pen and write me a letter.
And that’s nice to me. In truth, I don’t plan on writing to him, both.
Look, I’m now not a monster. If he desired letters from me, I might send them for all of the 12 days he’ll be long past. But he doesn’t. And for his whole summer season-camp profession, he has steadfastly refused to jot down to me (or everybody else) whilst he’s away.
At first, I protested. I cajoled. He didn’t budge from his stance. I wrote to him anyway. He didn’t write back. In his duffel bag, I positioned addressed, stamped envelopes at the side of paper and pens. They got here back untouched. The next yr, I cajoled a bit extra.
“Mom,” he finally stated, “the complete point of going to camp is to be far from your dad and mom.”
And then I idea, “You realize? He has a factor.”
Maybe it took me to see you later to come round to his factor of view as it’s quite much the right contrary to my very own. When I went to sleepaway camp, starting at the age of nine, I was thrilled at every letter my dad and mom wrote to me. And I wrote to them, regularly and in remarkable detail. Several years ago, my father sent me a package deal of all the letters he and my mother had saved from my 80s camp profession. Rereading them, I changed into amazed at how open I was with them. Even as a sulky 14-yr-antique, I became pretty willing to percentage gossip approximately my buddies, discuss fledgling relationships among the CITs, and air my anxieties around auditions for the camp musical (sarcastically, I got the position of Marty Maraschino in Grease).
But my kid is extraordinary. He’s affectionate and cuddly, but he’s now not interested in expressing his every emotion via the written word. I am loath to chalk that as much as gender; however, my dad — who sent both his son and his daughter to summer camp for the better a part of a decade — isn’t: “Girls write,” he told me, “boys don’t.” And my son is detached from the concept of getting mail from his mother. I can see the point: frankly, the everyday info of my lifestyle isn’t absolutely that interesting in your common 12-yr-old boy.
In an international where social media needs that we document each enjoys for posterity, it is able to be tough to shake the feeling that we must realize about (and photograph) every valuable moment in our children’s lives and vice versa. It may be hard to assume that stories are fleeting, that we gained’t have a document of them inside the many years to come back. But, for youngsters privileged enough in order to get there, sleepaway — emphasis on away — camp is a workout each in letting pass and being within the second. It’s a hazard for tweens and teens to have new studies, emerge as extra independent, analyze new talents and make new pals. Yes, without parents hovering within the heritage, asking them to chronicle every moment instead of genuinely taking part in it.
I don’t need to be aware of each detail of my son’s time at camp and vice versa. And neither of us desires to experience responsible for approximately it. I’ll allow him to pass and consider the fun he’s having. And I’ll sit up for seeing him whilst he gets lower back, filthy, mosquito-bitten, and happy.