Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Missing someone, sniff. . . sniff

Would someone please put me into a medically induced coma for the next few days?  Just wake me up Saturday evening.  Around 8 pm.

Because that's when Nathan comes home.

Last Saturday night we put our 12 year old son on a bus for summer camp.

It was his first time.

The camp is 560 miles from our home.

It's supposed to be the Rolls Royce of Boy Scout Camps, and 33 boys from his troop were going together.  It looks like tons of fun.  It wasn't cheap.

Problem is, he's only made a couple of friends in the troop so far.  And both friends opted out of camp this year, leaving Nathan to go it alone.

He didn't really want to go.

He teared up a little.

But we put him on the bus anyway.  To go to camp.  560 miles from home.  Without a friend.

I need that coma as soon as possible.

Now at this point, there are two types of people reading this post.  There's the crowd that's saying:  "Dana, cut the cord already.  The kid is 12 years old, and Boy Scout camp is fun.  HE'LL BE FINE."

And then, there are those of you who are gasping, "What?  You made him go to camp?  By himself? Are you insane?" You know who you are.   And now you're thinking, "Well, how was he when you talked to him?" 

Yeah.  I haven't talked to him.  Did I mention that electronics aren't allowed in camp and there are no phone calls home, unless there's a problem? 

So I guess he's fine.  "Coma. . .  please."

Here's a photo of Nathan and Mike, right before Nathan left for camp.  Mike's trying to look more upset than Nathan.

And here's Nathan, texting his friends, letting them know that he'll be offline for the next week.

If it had been up to me, I wouldn't have made him go this year.  But Mike thought this was the year -- friends or not.  Maybe that's why God gave boys a dad and not just a mom.  Dad's look at things in a different way.  I suspect my boys need that kind of leadership in their lives.

Just like I need a coma to make it til Saturday.

By last Sunday afternoon, I was toast.  And then it hit me.  The kids may be unplugged from electronics for the week, but there's no way all those adult leaders checked their iphones at the door.

So I sent off a little email to the Scoutmaster's wife.

"I know that Nathan was kind of (understatement) homesick when he left last night.  Could you tell me how he's doing?" 

That was ok, don't you think?  Low key.  Not too desperate.

The next morning she sent me this photo of Nathan having breakfast with a friend.

When I saw this photo, all I could think was, "Cue the deer." 

If you're unfamiliar with that expression, here's a little explanation from The Urban Dictionary.

The expression "cue the deer" comes from Funny Farm, in a scene where a couple was showing their home to prospective buyers. The sellers wanted to make their home as attractive as possible. As the potential buyers were approaching the home, Chevy Chase's characters says "cue the deer" into a walkie talkie, and a small deer is released from a cage and scampers across the lawn, charming the socks right off the buyers.

Yep, when I saw this photo, all I could think was, "Cue the smiling kid.  Sit him right there next to Nathan, so Nathan's mom will know he's ok."

Nathan looks ok.  He's not brimming over with unspeakable joy, but he looks ok enough. 

Hopefully his days at camp are so full of swimming, hiking, white water rafting and other outdoor fun that he doesn't have much time to be homesick.  And maybe that smiling kid really is his new best friend.

As for me, I'm sure I'll be fine as well.  I'm just thinking it would go by so much faster if I could be uncounscious until about 8 pm Saturday night.  Suggestions anyone?


  1. Aw!! He's probably so busy he doesn't have time to be homesick:)

  2. Having no eloctronics works better for campers then you might think. I used to work at a camp that allowed no personal phone calls, parent's thought it ridiculous but homesickness is usually a reflection of thier home life and what they miss from home. if they have immediate access to immediate communication (unless perscribed by nurse or program director) it tends to make homesickness even worse.

    the camp I worked at allowed parents to email thier kids via the camp email and they got it at mail time and letters were always looked forward to as well. a neat trick for if it is a short week and you worry about not getting mail unless you send a letter first is to write letters ahead of time and give them to someone either going to the camp or the camp people themselves and ask for it to be handed out at mail time.

    And I am sure he is better then that picture shows homesickness always appears worse in the mornings and at bedtime. always, always, always. it is nearly impossible to be homesick during the daytime activities. (trust me I have had cabins of 8 girls who were all homesick at once)

    the best thing a parent can do is remain positive and not try to push thier mood off on thier children. try not to pass judgement until after this week has past and keep any letter writing communications to happy upbeat positive note.

    If after this week he is not happy and doesn't want to go back. that is fine maybe visit some camps with different missions or goals or types. go to look at day camps, church camps, camps that are closer, maybe even a camp that has a family camp nearby.

    1. His troop has this camp thing down pat. They had us prepare letters for "Troop Mail." We turned in letters to be given to him through the week when he checked in Saturday night. I decided not to send a letter for every day -- knowing Nathan it would make him more homesick. Julia wrote him a letter to be given to him on Tuesday and I wrote a funny letter to be given to him on Wed.

    2. that is good, funny letters are always good. like I said before letters of an upbeat nature are so much better then the letters that leave them missing home. also for another time to try and get them engaged is before going have your other children look at pictures from the camp and the different activities and have them list off the activities that they would like to do if they went. so that the one going will try them if he gets a chance so that he can talk about that to them.

  3. Dana-I remember once during little league after Matt had struck out for the third time and was in the dug out sniffling. Doug went down to talk to him. I was so thankful that I had a husband who was sensitive to his hurting child. When he came back up to me, I asked him what he said to Matt. " I told him there's no crying in baseball and to knock it off"! I was horrified! It was another example of why God gives boys dads! All to say that Mike knows best here my friend. It might be hard for him, but you better than most know that God can't really grow him without some hard. Hang in....

  4. PS-he looks more like "come on mom......I'm fine......can I please just eat my breakfast?"!

  5. It's Wed. and he's made it past the half way point. This evening he was scheduled for a five mile hike. He also should have gotten the "funny" letter from me today. I told him that while he was gone, I was going to paint the outside of the house a totally different color, cut down the two obnoxious trees in the front yard, put purple carpet in his room and sell the car. Nathan is my child who never wants anything to change. He'll get the joke : )

  6. Dana,
    I know he's home by now safe and sound. In fact I am sure he is, I saw that post too. However, I wanted to comment on this one. This was fantastic! You writing is spectacular but it's your courage again that overwhelms me. It was hard. It was scary. But it was right! I love that you submitted to Mike's leadership and your sweet Nathan gained such courage in the process. You did too! Having read this, so have I. I love you and your example.

    1. Heather - Thanks for reading and commenting. You've known Nathan since he was five and taught him all year long this school year -- I knew you'd understand what a big deal this was! It really turned out to be a great thing.


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