Well, today’s the big day. The day my son comes home after 26 days of camping up in the wilds of Canada at an all boys camp.
Where has the time gone? It seems to have slipped away and that suggests to me that I made the most of it, got into a groove and got things done. And by things, I mean writing, mostly, and relaxing.
My husband can attest to both. He’s watched me write for what in his estimation has been 6 to 8 hours a day. It doesn’t ever feel like that, but I guess between writing and related research, reading and critiquing other Yeah Writers’ work, and reading through the many blogs I follow, his estimate is probably correct. So that’s how the time has flown.
I feel guilty for admitting that I really enjoyed the freedom to be able to write all day, without having to entertain someone. But there it is, my guilty secret. I miss him, for sure, and I’m pretty excited to see him today, but I will also miss having my days to myself.
Really, I shouldn’t feel guilty because I know he would spend all his months at camp, without us, if that was an option.
Besides writing and related activities, I have allowed myself to relax. The pressure of taking care of a little being has eased. My husband can equally attest that I get up more or less when I want to, and go to bed later as well. I no longer angst over meals; I just make whatever is available in the fridge and cupboards.
Why don’t I live like this normally, with my son here? There are of course some differences (he does need to be told what to do, and I do need to give him some attention!), but this month to myself has taught me that I fuss too much. And why? He’s doing well. He’s nine. He doesn’t need me to weigh myself down with responsibility for him. We’d all be much happier if I just took it down a notch, or two.
Meanwhile, he’s been living in a tent under very rustic conditions through what has been a pretty cold and wet month. From what I can see of the pictures the camp posts, he seems to have survived. And more than that, he’s smiling. On visitors’ Day, he even told us he wants to return next year for two 26-day sessions! That’s not going to happen, but the point is, he has happily and successfully taken care of himself with minimal guidance. I mean, it’s a camp of boys, run by boys! He has fed himself (the kids get to choose from the salad bar if they don’t like the hot meals), clothed himself, bathed himself (or possibly not), got himself to his activities on time, handled a sprained ankle, lived through adverse weather conditions,dealt with any drama and upset, followed rules, and taken on responsibilities.
And that’s another thing. The camp has rules and structure, a schedule and individual responsibilities. They are presented matter-of-factly as just the way things are. From what I gather, there is little (if any) resistance to the rules, the daily routine, the hierarchy or chores. The boys just get on with it.
Why is there so much resistance at home, then?
I know, I know. Because we are not as fun as a boys’ camp. We don’t scream and cheer and slam the table at every meal, thereby releasing all the pent up rule-following angst. We’re old(er). We’re boring. We’re strict. But, perhaps we (read: I) need to present the rules and the schedule more calmly and matter-of-factly, like the camp does. Without wiggle room. Without inviting him to test the boundaries or rebel. I know he will anyway, but I think I can do my part to bring some level of harmony to the way things work at home.
This is related to my first point about easing off a bit. Hovering less. Worrying less. Relaxing more.
I guess we both learned something from this experience. I just hope I can apply the lessons and avoid slipping into my old habits.