To this day, I remember how hard it was as a kid to fall asleep the night before I left for a week at summer camp. My mind kept thinking about how much fun I was going to have sailing, horseback riding and learning photography. And each time I closed my eyes, I would begin worrying if I would sit alone at meals all week or if I would find a friend. But of course, I never even considered that my mom was nervous about me going away; all I could think about was camp fires and ghost stories.
But last week on the night before my 10-year-old daughter left for sleep away camp for the first time, I realized that camp is totally different when you are the mom. As I started to drift off to sleep, I worried if the counselors would remind her to put sunscreen and brush her teeth. Somewhere around 3 a.m. I woke up frantic that I had forgotten to pack her flashlight. And all night, I wondered if she would make friends and love camp as much as I did growing up. When morning came, I realized that my daughter had slept soundly and couldn’t understand why I was so tired.
A few hours later, I held back my tears as kissed her goodbye at the door to her cabin. As I drove down the dirt road away from camp, I picked up my phone to call my mom since I was pretty sure she would understand.