I actually have a third child – the notorious middle child. He is unique in his own ways that I could write about, maybe, at a later date.
He is off at Cub Scout camp this week. In general, he lives life to the fullest. But this week…
Son (texting): Hi mom.
I miss you.
Me: Miss you too. Raining here.
Son: K. I want to be home. With you.
Me: Are you homesick? You will have so much fun tomorrow in the day and sun.
Son: No I will not. I dot (sic) not fell (sic) good.
Then, in the middle of my typing a response, the phone rings. I put on my brightest “Mom at 10:30 p.m.” voice.
“Hey, buddy! How are you?”
My enthusiasm is greeted by the sound of uncontrollable sobs.
“I miss you. I’m cold. I just want to snuggle with you. I forgot my stuffed animal and I can’t stay here for another minute.”
… I am eventually able to calm him down and get him to agree to stay, if only for the night. Thank goodness for today’s phones. I think of what his night might have been like if we had not been able to talk. But I also think about how and why this adventure might have been too much for him.
He is a young fourth grader. Maybe it was too soon to send him to overnight camp. The signs were surely there. He has called mid-evening in tears to come home from sleepover parties. But his Dad is there with him. I thought that would make it “no big deal.”
Luckily, with sleep and the morning, his mood did improve. Then got stung by two bees (but that’s another story). Each day has been an improvement upon the last. He’ll be home in a matter of hours. He made it.
I see a pattern of encouraging, forcing, and relenting emerging from my posts about my kids. This parenting stuff is very tricky. Like teaching. I am recognizing that being relational, and having the child’s best interest – not my own; never my own – at heart, will help guide the way, bee stings and all.