The boy spent his first week away from home at Paleontology Camp last week. He left on Sunday and went down to Yorktown to stay with his grandparents for the week where they would ferry him back and forth to the Virginia Living Museum to camp every day. He was excited, his bags were packed before I could say “Don’t forget to pack extra underwear;” and to even think he would miss me was a joke.
The little flower was not to be left out; oh no, she had to go down for a few days herself! I have never seen two children so eager to leave their devoted parents in all my life. What in the world! After we dropped them off the feeling of freedom was so overwhelming I wanted to cry. I mean, this was a Sunday folks and I would be childless until Wednesday! Life after toddlers is one big social whirlwind.
Back to that feeling of freedom, I felt so weightless, like anything was possible. It was wonderful. The husband and I did what any fun-loving couple does and went to Lowes. I decided I was going to re-paint my kitchen and the cabinets while the children were away. After the first night, I started missing them. They would call and they sounded so sweet and happy on the phone. That old nasty voice of “they don’t like you” started creeping up into my mind. But, I prevailed and pushed it back down. No! I am Free, I will go and have coffee, in the middle of the day with my friend without someone whining that they are bored or hungry. The next day came and after talking with the boy on the phone and hearing about how wonderful Paleontology Camp was and how lovely the grandparents’ house was and how yummy their food was and blah,blah; that voice started creeping back up again, “He doesn’t love you anymore, he would rather live with them than with you.”
Yes, that’s what I started thinking; and when on the third night my darling boy could barely speak to me without an attitude and my mother-in-law couldn’t stop talking about how wonderful my sweet little psychopath was and how perfect his manners were, I lost it. I got off of the phone and cried, and cried. The boy made me cry. He spoke to me like he couldn’t care less if I was there or not and it broke my heart. After his father realized what a little you-know-what he had been, he ripped him one over the phone and proper punishment was put into place; you cannot talk to your parents however you would like. But, all the same, it was a moment that we will all have, and will have again I’m sure; that moment when they begin to grow up and away.
They don’t need us, and that’s okay. That’s what we are here for, to teach them not to need us, but when we realize that they are learning to live without us, it hurts so very much.
He’s only eight, and it was only camp for a week, but it was a glimpse into life in the future – when he goes away to college, when finds his love and marries, when he becomes a father. Every moment takes them further away. But again, it’s okay because truly they are always and forever ours; buried deep down in that place where they first sparked, first bloomed, first began – in the hearts of their mothers.