You might have noticed a certain level of anxiety around here. It’s most immediate cause has been a looming camp. Poss’ first. At nine and a half, I kind of thought we were past firsts. All those milestones; steps, words, teeth, school… we’ve done them all. They’re long past.
Each one kind of built her into this little person, and now, as I’m starting to realise all the firsts from here will be steps away from us. Maybe they’ve all been like that, but now it’s more pronounced.
And her first camp is just one of them I guess. Next it will be her communion, then there’s going to be dances, boys, exams and one day, travel, a home of her own. Who knows where they’ll take her. Each one moving her that next step towards independence. A life of her own.
Some steps sneak up on us, taking us by surprise. Not this one. We were well prepared. Months of discussions, preparation and support were tested when we waved goodbye at school last week. She didn’t even look back.
And three days and two nights later, she came home.
I drove up just as the bus pulled in. She dropped her bags and ran at me. It was like something out of a movie, it felt like slow motion. She reached me with tears streaming down her face, and she threw herself at me so hard we spun around with her legs in the air.
Her teachers caught me quickly to share their praise; she stayed in her bed all night, she tried at least some of her meals, she had a go at all the activities. She may not have showered, but she did dress herself each day. She was simply amazing. Surpassed all expectations.
My heart had all the feels. I couldn’t be prouder to know she’d nailed it. And at the same time, I couldn’t be happier to know she was home.
As we walked to the car the words bubbled over, she was trying to tell me everything all at once. The adventures, the games, her friends, the jokes all jumbling out at such speed I struggled to keep up. I just let it flow over me, nodding in all the right places, until she had no more words. And then the tears came.
It’s been a hard weekend. The bounce is a bitch.
But she’s home. Our happy little camper is home and reunited with her iPad, which she claims she missed more than anything else. And another step has been conquered.