All that to say --- Kellen is gone to a three day, two night sleep-away camp at a university away from home, with no way to contact him except in the event of an extreme emergency ..... and I (sniff, sniff) miss him more than I ever thought I would.
I think the difference is that when he spends the night with friends, I know their mothers. I have the knowledge that I can get ahold of him any time I want. Not that I DO, just that I CAN.
At football camp, he is one of six hundred boys, and those counselors don't know him personally. They don't know his name; they don't know anything about him. They don't know that he's using an alarm clock to wake himself up for breakfast for the first time in his life. They don't know that he likes chocolate milk instead of white, they're not going to remind him that I left extra money in his suitcase in case he gets hungry, they're not going to remind him to lock the room behind him when he leaves, they don't know that he's too self-conscious to ask for help if he needs it, and they sure as heck don't care if he remembers to put on the sunscreen I left for him.
Do I think he'll be fine? Yes.
Do I think he'll manage to work the alarm clock and make it to breakfast on time? Yes.
Do I think he's having fun, learning tons about football, and enjoying himself with his friend Chance while they stay in the dorms? Yes, yes, and yes.
But it's breaking my heart just a little bit.
Conversation earlier today:
Me: "It feels weird without Kellen here. I wonder how he's doing. I wonder what he's doing RIGHT NOW. I wonder if he's having fun. I wonder how the practices are going. I wonder how the food in the cafeteria is. I wonder if he misses us, too."
Kendrie: "It does feel weird. Like part of our family is missing."
Brayden: "All I've noticed is how much quieter is it around here."
How on earth will
A large number of the boys attending the camp are day campers, and their parents are responsible for getting the boys to and from practice, and they stay during the practices, also. I figured it couldn't hurt the first day if I stuck around, too, even if Kellen is an overnight camper and I didn't *technically* need to be there. I blended in with the hundreds of other parents ... and it gave me a chance to watch what they were doing .... and whisper goodbye one last time when Kellen ran past me on his way back to the dorms, happy as a clam .....