Henry went to sleepaway camp for the first time last year. He was gone for two weeks, and let me tell you, those two weeks were a giddy thrill ride of unbearable anxiety and mild to moderate fretting/longing. I missed my kid so much it physically hurt, and although Scott and I enjoyed going out and having grown-up fun (not a euphemism) with fellow adults (friends! platonic friends!), it almost didn't make up for all the discomfort. It was often painful, and I considered whether I needed daily therapy, or an hourly meditation practice, or for someone to come along and bop me on the head with a mallet.
Part of the anxiety was due to the fact that Henry promised and swore he'd write and then we did not receive any correspondence until, oh, the day before we picked him up. While I told myself his radio silence was due to his extreme fun-having, and if anything had gone wrong surely the camp would let us know, the nonrational side of me was shrieking, "Call the camp! He wandered into the woods and no one noticed! He's going to be raised by raccoons and even when you find him he will speak Raccoon Talk and he'll have imprinted on his new Raccoon Mother! His new name will be known only to his fellow raccoons! It will be Chrrrhrrfrrrr! But you'll never pronounce it correctly! Where was I going with this!"
Then we got a letter from him, and it was happy and carefree. I was then able to enjoy the last 24 or so hours before we picked him up, and boy, did I make that time count! (I don't think I really did. I can't recall.)
The point of this is that he had a great time, the greatest time of his life ever, and he's spent the year longing for the carefree days of camp. Which made sending him this year a much easier decision, and a far less painful experience for us. We decided to send him this year for a month, mostly because 1) his best friend was also going for a month, and 2) who wants to be in Brooklyn in the dead of summer, when the world smells like garbage? I know I'd rather not be here.
This weekend was Visiting Day (which the one-month campers have after two weeks), and we were dying to get our hands on our (probably) grubby camper. He gave us a tour of the place, and we took him out for lunch and dessert. And then ice cream. And then we tried to get him a toy at the toy store, but all he wanted was a rock. A polished rock, but still. Kid's gone native. I shouted "DON'T BE A RACCOON" but he just stared at me. He's already forgetting our human language!
He's got another two weeks. It's pretty great, knowing what a good time he's having, out there in the woods. But we miss him, you know, a little.