Tuesday, June 30, 2009

y.m., y.m., ymca. c.a., c.a., camp.

the duke of fun left for summer camp this morning.

the same summer camp the lord of the ring went to for 9 years. the same one the duke's been going to since he was 9. in one of the most beautiful places on this big hunk of green and blue rock. yes, i am totally jealous. yes, i am totally thrilled.

can i just say that i love summer camp? summer camp for the duke, and starting next year for wingman, is not only TOTALLY AWESOME, but it's also my own personal backup to insure my kids aren't assholes.

just so we're clear, my kids are not assholes. but i maintain that things can change. and puberty and young adulthood can do a number on even the coolest kid in the world. you just never know, so having all the backup you can get is a good idea.

i also maintain that, given my experience, no serious camp person can be 100% asshole. it's nearly impossible. it just doesn't happen.

you understand, this is an informal and non scientific finding at best, but i'm sticking by it.

so the first year he went i remember crying after he left and holding my breath until he came home.

cut to four years later to this morning when i sent him off with a hug and a kiss and told him to have fun. not a teardrop in sight.


as a parent you can see your kids growing and changing and evolving, and you forget that you do too. that it isn't a one way street.

the first few years he was obviously much younger. you worry so much about so much. and not that i don't worry as he gets older, i just have passed some of that responsibility on to him. he is becoming his own person, moving about in the world without needing me to approve or disapprove of his every action.

the instructions get fewer each year. now he knows he needs to drink lots of water and apply sunscreen more than once a day. i don't have to tell him that anymore. now he knows that his bunk mates will ALWAYS knock off his ever present and much beloved yankee's hat. it's a given. and he knows that all he has to say is "dude, that's not cool," and it usually stops.

now I KNOW not to even mention how much i would love for him to send me one measly letter from camp. because I KNOW it's not going to happen. see, i'm learning too. (though i did pack self addressed stamped envelopes and paper just. in. case. shocking, i know.)

this year i sent him off with the same thing i sent him off with last year, a well packed bag and the following

"all you really have in life is your good name. and once you mess with that or tarnish it it can be very difficult for people to move beyond that. so you need to make good choices to stay safe and to maintain credibility."

he's in a new group this year. with actual teenagers. real live living breathing teenagers. which prompted a new piece of advice and the following conversation

"individually boys your age are pretty cool, same with girls your age. but remember how we talked about when kids get together they give up their own brains in favor of a group brain?"

"yeah, especially girls."

"well, let's not be so gender specific, but yes. so if all these kids are sharing a brain maybe some of the choices the group makes aren't so well thought out, you know what i mean? one brain to share doesn't allow for a lot of thought."

"yeah, i don't have to go along with what some other kid or kids are doing. i still have to think for myself."

"right. you ask yourself, is this a good choice? what would my parents think about this choice?"

"yeah, plus i don't want to be somebody's sidekick."

"well, if it's a real cool kid who makes good choices then that wouldn't be so bad, right? to be his sidekick?"

"but, mama? that's just called being a friend."


just so you don't think i've given wingman away or anything, he's still here and i will share with you the following conversation from yesterday to prove it.

we were sitting on the porch playing a united states of america geography game. he asked me the following question

"what is the capitol of connecticut?"

"oh, i know this. hmm, i know it's NOT new canaan."

"quick! think of whitey ford!"

"who in the world is whitey ford? and how does this help me!"

"mama, he's a famous baseball player."

"oh, who does he play for?"

"MAMA he's DEAD!"

for eight years old he sure has irritated sighing down to the letter. i CANNOT imagine for the life of me where he gets it.

"why are we talking about him then? how does this help me!"

"mama, the capitol of connecticut is hartford. get it? ford? as in whitey ford? i figured THAT was a really big clue. geeze."

right. sure. good lord.

wingman could write a book with what i don't know. you know, about all the really important pressing issues of our time. he could call it things my mother should know and just doesn't.

i bet i know who he could get to co-author that book.


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