As a Camp Professional, I Thought This Would be Easier by Susie Lupert
Executive Director of ACA, NY and NJ Susie Lupert reflects on dropping her son off at overnight camp for the first time last week.
I looked into the rear view mirror to see my son's face pressed up against the glass of the backseat window. I could feel him taking in every detail as we drove down the windy, country road. He had been quiet for the entire two hour drive up to camp. My partner and I bit our tongues the entire way so we wouldn’t nag him with reminders like “Remember to change your underwear everyday" ,"Talk to your counselors if you are feeing sad", "At least try to eat some salad." We promised ourselves we weren't going to make him more nervous than he already was. And I promised myself I wouldn’t cry. Well, at least not in front of him. He is independent enough that we felt comfortable sending him to camp, so we needed to trust ourselves and him.
As we pulled up to the grassy field to park our car, we rolled down the window to the friendliest smile I have ever seen. "Welcome to camp!" the counselor exclaimed while waving to us. That was all it took. I lost it. My eyes swelled up with tears. All of those promises I made to myself not to cry went down the drain. I looked back and saw my son's body start to relax and the excitement was pouring out of him. I was going to miss my baby, but I felt tremendous relief. I knew at that moment that I trusted these people to take care of my child and help guide him through this amazing camp experience.
But this wasn’t the reason I was crying. I was truly emotional because this was a homecoming. When this counselor, proudly wearing her camp t-shirt, surrounded by dozens of other smiling faces, yelled out "Welcome to camp!" all of my memories of camp - the friendships, the songs, the adventures- it all came flooding back to me. And at that moment I realized this was just the beginning of all of that for my son. He was about to have all of these experiences, meet all of these friends and make all of these memories that will help shape him into a beautiful, spirited and independent person. When he stepped out of the car, he was home at camp.
Posted on Wed, July 11, 2018
by Jess Michaels