Well, we sent Safety Guy off to Boy Scout camp yesterday. It was a bittersweet sendoff, since he had a huge meltdown in the process of getting ready. While walking the parental tightrope of offering independence to him while trying to give him the best chance of success, I screwed up. He wanted to pack all of his own stuff. In spite of my better judgment, I took a look in his duffel and realized he had packed a completely inadequate amount of clothing. He'll be gone for six days; he had enough clothes for 2-3 days. I should have just let him be stinky and dirty. By adding socks and stuff to his bag, I precipitated a big meltdown.
It was very discouraging, and I was angry with myself much more than with him for his harsh words and yelling at his father and I. And to his credit, Safety Guy did apologize to me later on when he'd cooled down. I owe him an apology too, the next time we talk. (Ah, the magic of cell phones, reaching out even from the Adirondacks and Scout Camp.)
So my husband drove him up to Camp Russell, and I spent the day with the Princess. Later that evening we got an unhappy call from Safety Guy. He was upset, and wanted us to come get him from camp. He'd had a panic attack over the swimming test and couldn't do it, and he was distraught at having to spend the entire week at camp, out of his comfort zone. I talked him down to some semblance of calm, while making sure he knew that us picking him up was NOT going to happen. He was up there; we're down here. Our conversation went something like this:
(I don't want to be here! I want to be home! Why did I decide to do this?! I just want my normal routine back.) You decided to do this months ago, and camp is paid for. We're not driving back up there, and we know you can do this. Give it a chance, you'll find good things to enjoy. You'll have your routine back soon.
(I can't believe I panicked at the swim test, and I didn't think they'd understand.) You can try again for the swimming test. All you can do is your best, and move on no matter what the result is. If you need to choose another badge to work on, why don't you look for a history-related one - you're really good with history. Remember you did Indian Lore last year? (Uh huh.)
Remember the fun you had last year? (Yeah. I remember that someone stole my money, too.) Yes, but if you keep your money ON you in your wallet, that's not likely to happen again. (Okay.)
Do they still have the rock wall? (I think so.) Remember that you enjoyed that last year? (Yes!)
What are you doing tonight? (Sleeping! Oh, and a campfire.)
Can I send anything up to you with your Dad when he comes to camp later in the week? (Drinks, or money for drinks at the camp store, please. And I'd like to get some camping stuff at the store, if there's any extra money.)
What if I send up a treat for you and your friends too? (That would be cool.)
And so he moved on from the drama and frustration, and was calm and ready to take on the campfire activities that evening. I really, really hope he has a good day today. I hope he passes the swimming test, which he has to do if he's to be able to work on his Rowing badge. I hope he has more positive than negative experiences this week.
The house is strangely quiet without him here. No random questions, no car-wreck noises, no fire alarms, no "Top Gear" or "Dukes of Hazzard" going in the background. (No sibling infighting - I wouldn't be human if I didn't enjoy the lack of that.) He'll be back Saturday, though, and life as "normal" as possible in our family will resume.
I hope he has a good week. Tomorrow I need to make some peanut butter chip cookies to send to camp.