Summer Camp & Letting Go

Last Sunday we took JBelle to Girl Scout camp. It was her first experience in being away from home for an extended period of time. She, of course, was just fine. I, on the other hand, was a complete and total wreck! The drop-off process went smoothly enough. She seemed excited, a bit nervous but she didn’t beg us to stay, she didn’t cry and cling. In fact, she was quite nonchalant about it. When we decided to go, she hugged us and turned back to the table of girls in her “house”. I purposefully stayed calm and didn’t cry or linger too long. And even on the drive back home, I was fine. It was after we arrived at home that I started freaking out.

“We don’t even know anyone at that camp!”

“We left our first born with total strangers!”

“Who does that?”

“What have we done?”

I kept my phone beside me the rest of the day. I just knew she was going to call crying and saying she was homesick and upset because someone looked at her cross-eyed.

The call never came.

Because she was fine.

That night I sobbed in DB’s arms. Letting go is so hard. But as her wonderful Daddy gently reminded me, our job is to raise her to be a responsible adult and that means we can’t always be in control of everything she experiences. And he reminded me that even in the 8 short years she’s been with us, those times when we’ve been apart from her she’s has shown tremendous growth, learning and maturity. It’s true and I knew it. Still, a knot settled into the pit of my stomach.

Monday I was still freaking out.

Tuesday I accepted that the knot in my stomach would not go away until I picked my little girl up from camp.

By Wednesday I had calmed down significantly and best of all, we got a letter in the mail from JBelle! A letter than simply told us that the food was good, they would be taking their swimming test that day and that they were 13 girls in her cabin. Short and sweet and not one mention of being miserable or longing for home.


My little girl is growing up.

And I can’t get this song out of my head

Wide Open Spaces
by The Dixie Chicks

Who doesn’t know what I’m talking about
Who’s never left home, who’s never struck out
To find a dream and a life of their own
A place in the clouds, a foundation of stone

Many precede and many will follow
A young girl’s dream no longer hollow
It takes the shape of a place out west
But what it holds for her, she hasn’t yet guessed

She needs wide open spaces
Room to make her big mistakes
She needs new faces
She knows the high stakes

She traveled this road as a child
Wide eyed and grinning, she never tired
But now she won’t be coming back with the rest
If these are life’s lessons, she’ll take this test

She needs wide open spaces
Room to make her big mistakes
She needs new faces
She knows the high stakes

As her folks drive away, her dad yells, “Check the oil!”
Mom stares out the window and says, “I’m leaving my girl”
She said, “It didn’t seem like that long ago”
When she stood there and let her own folks know

She needs wide open spaces
Room to make her big mistakes
She needs new faces
She knows the high stakes


Filed under by Malia, JBelle, parenting

5 responses to “Summer Camp & Letting Go

  1. Pingback: Summer Camp & Letting Go

  2. Sheryl

    It’s a big step for you… and for her.

    It got me thinking of my first summer at WaMaVa. Although I was a bit older then JBelle, it was the same kinda thing…
    I was at a camp that I didn’t know anyone (except if you count the McCalls) and I was thousands of miles away. It was a rough first summer there but I made friends, and the rest is history… 🙂
    I couldn’t imagine my life without having that be such a wonderful part of my history and all the wonderful friends and memories I made there. 🙂

  3. When I contemplate having to start letting go one of these days, I feel a bit of panic. I don’t ever want to turn my baby loose in this big bad world. But my husband, like yours, reminds me we are raising them to be adults not good children so I hope his voice of reason helps me get through. Glad she is having fun!

    Love that song!

  4. I love that song.

    I am sure that I’ll be a basket case some day when Miss C heads to camp for the first time. But truly, it’s a fantastic thing that she had a great time and didn’t want to come home!

  5. I let my boys go to camp for the first time this summer. It helped some that they were both there together. I had that same knot in my belly and had to talk myself through the week as well.

    Just think… We’ve got more years and more kids still to go. 🙂

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