Summer Camps and Flood Gates

Sometimes I just feel so happy that I have a Blog. It’s become my little place I go when I’m feeling happy, sad, confused, angered, anxious and celebratory.

This morning I shipped two little boys off to camp. I know what you’re saying… “Day camp! Get over yourself, Mamma!” But really, I’m not over it. I’m totally still in it. And the flood gates haven’t shut off yet. If you’re a mom with a kid starting a first day of school, a first day of daycare, a first day of camp, or any place where you’re sending your child into the unknown, then I know you can relate. Unless you can’t, and that’s cool too. 😉


I sprung out of bed at 6am this morning with a nervous stomach. Both boys are starting brand new camps today. The Watermelon Bus, that is, the bus taking my 6 year old 45 minutes away, twice a day, wasn’t coming until 8:30Am. Tons of time!  I had prepared their backpacks last night, bought them their favorite plain pizza for their first day, and laid their clothes out. But still, I figured between making lunches, getting them to eat breakfast, and calming my 6 year old’s nerves about the swim program, we’d need extra time.

The morning went smoothly. My little 3 year old wouldn’t take his backpack off… for a minute. He’s been so jealous of his big brother lately, who it seems, is always going “somewhere” or doing “something” while he always seems to be left behind.  Well, this was HIS morning. With HIS backpack. HIS hockey lunch box. HIS big camp. And he was proud! So, I let him walk around the house for 2 hours in a backpack. So what.

Daddy stayed home late this morning to see both boys off on their first day. So there we were, all four of us, standing in the driveway, me snapping pictures. I couldn’t believe how the time had flown. It felt like just yesterday my water broke, right there, right on my doctor’s examining table, on my due date, 40 weeks to the minute, so very Erica… on-time and efficient. And here they both were, almost 7 and 3 1/2, two big boys eagerly awaiting to start their summer.

And when I saw the Watermelon bus slowly coming down the street, my breath stopped in my throat. Literally. All the breathing I’ve learned in yoga completely went out the window. I literally was holding my breath. My big son, who is so very like me… anxious and cautious, walked on to the bus, walked down the aisle, found his friend, sat next to him, waived to me with a big smile, and said, “I’ll see you later mom. Love you.” Of course me, still barely breathing, replied, “I love you Honey. Have a great day. I can’t wait to hear all about it.” I turned around, walked down the bus stairs, watched the bus drive away, and then LOST IT. My breath had finally returned, but the tears were coming by the dozens.

My hubby looked at me, and said, “Why are you crying? He did so great. He was so happy,” to which I replied, “I know he was so happy. I don’t know why I’m crying. My heart is full, I guess.”

first day of camp

I then proceeded into my car with my little one, who was next on the camp drop-off list. He was just so proud to finally have a big boy camp to call his own. So funny how our children need and experience things so differently. So as I walked him into his camp, he too found his best friend, gave him a hug, sat next to him, backpack glued to his back, and gave me a huge smile. I hugged and kissed him, and waived goodbye. He smiled back, and the last words he said to me were, “I wuv dis camp, Mommy.” I turned around for the second time, and again, those damn flood gates.

And I’m still not sure why I cry. Maybe it’s separation anxiety. Maybe it’s new beginnings. Maybe because it’s so bittersweet… them needing me less, and becoming more and more independent. Maybe it’s the letting go. It just felt like a huge moment. Like when you realize that your babies are growing up, and sometimes at certain moments, with all their schtick, you love the little person staring back at you, and feel grateful for their accomplishments and milestones. You feel a sense of pride. And all of a sudden, the desire for them to be the best athlete, or the smartest kid goes out the window. And instead, seeing a happy, well rounded, thriving kid just making memories, is what it’s totally all about.

So, I just got off the phone with the camps. Both boys are having a ball. I’m still crying. What the hell is the matter with me?

Maybe it’s because I realized if they’re getting older, shit, then so am I.




  1. What an honest post. I think as mothers we all want the best for our kids and when we see them happy, that’s when we can feel happy. I also cry EVERY first day of everything… you are certainly not alone! You should feel proud that you can give them this incredible opportunity.

  2. Great post. It made me teary eyed. You did great. Plus even though you’re aging, you look pretty darn good to me. 🙂

  3. Ahhh….I remember when my daughter first went to sleep away summer camp….I would comb the camp website for pictures and then if she was not smiling in the pics, I would fret over whether or not she was having a good time, or worse yet if she was feeling OK. I have to smile when I think of that as she now is a camp counselor for the same organization. I went to give her a hug a few weeks ago before she left, she told me to make the hug short as there were young campers nearby and she did not want them to get homesick by seeing her mom hugging her and saying that she would miss her….gotta love that. They also do not have a picture service at that camp anymore…..I have to wonder if there were too many moms pouring over the site and wondering! ZippyChix4

  4. Tears are definitely present when you have to say goodbye, but it is an exeperience you cannot deny your kids. My kids had so much fun they couldnt wait to go back next summer. A simple thing to help with homesickness or you missing them is getting a prepaid phone from like net10 super cheap and allows you to talk to them when you need to.

  5. I am already thinking about when my last one starts full days and I come home to an empty house. I am holding on to my last two years at home! I still cry at every grade. My oldest started gr 1 and my middle prek. Many tears full of imense pride, fear, letting go all rolled in to one.

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