I think there is a universal parent mode that we all live in that basically amounts to us feeling overwhelmed 24/7. That the day in, day out routine can get exhausting and in the middle of it all, you wonder, will i ever catch my breath??? But even when the universe blesses you with a break from the madness, you can't help but feel a little lost with a side of separation anxiety.
Naturally, the first few days were glorious. I literally danced my way out of camp playing Freedom by Beyonce. I relished in work, meetings and running. I couldn't believe that I didn't have to stop, drop and roll in the middle of whatever to make sure someone got dropped off or fed.
<It's moments and days like these that have me wondering how people without kids aren't taking the world over.>
I was living 4 days in one with the emotional capacity to talk about it at 10pm and not in my sleep.
That lasted until around day 5. Then slowly, but surely, little things would come to mind and I would get a little tinge of sad. I would simply remind myself to embrace the time had and that the kids were having a blast.
And dammit, So. Was. I.
I was in New York for work and had some time to myself to just be and enjoy...
By day 7 I realized I hadn't cooked dinner for anyone and started to question who I was.
What kind of life was I leading?
This feeling of disconnect from the life I normally lead to that of #summercampmomcamp was making me itchy.
Day 10 and I was absolutely mopey. I snapchatted them videos. emailed. cooked dinner. baked cookies. arranged flowers.
Day 12 I was counting down the hours and distracting myself with grocery shopping and meal plans. (I don't even do that, for the record. It's more like 4pm hits and I text everyone asking what they want for dinner. cue Favor.)
Finally, the 2 weeks had come to a close and I could go retrieve my meaning(s) to live.
There is an entire closing ceremony that you have to wait for and every year, without fail, they play this certain song and announce, 'children, go find your parents' and every year, I cry. This yearI composed myself better than usual, but total emo-mom nonetheless.
After long embraces and 'I'm so happy to see you's' we followed the crowd of families to the dining hall for breakfast.
I watched as my kids interacted with the other kids, counselors and adults. The way they greeted one another, shook hands and said their goodbyes.
I couldn't put my finger on it in that moment, but something was happening.
It wasn't until we were watching a video showcasing all the campers and their 2 week experience that it hit me:
I was feeling proud.
I was watching as my two babies navigated life independently of me with such grace and confidence. Realizing that they are growing into themselves and forming a life outside of the one we have together.
Seeing them in their element,
outside our routine,
and without the stress of 'what's for dinner' I was given a glimpse into the rewards of all that hard work.
We all know it's worth it. That goes without saying, but what it really showed me was that the 2 weeks was not about me getting a 'break'. Sure, on some level it was, but it's a smaller level than this one.
It gives our kids a chance to be themselves. To take what they have been taught and practice it on their own. To build friendships from scratch. To take risks in a safe environment.
I listened as they shared some personal fears they conquered, how they were able to move past their comfort zones, and find their way.
I couldn't help but think...
Is there any better reward for a parent?