I became aware, just two days ago, that the wonderful camp at which the boys will spend the next month ran longer each day than I'd thought. 8:10am drop-off, 4:45pm pick-up. Unless I'm out of town or they're with their grandparents, we've never, and certainly not regularly, spent that much time apart. And because this camp is 25 miles away from home, out in MD, they are a real bus ride away. When Jack was five -Ol's age now- you couldn't have paid me to send him off for so long. I'd have looked at you like you were certifiably insane if you'd even suggested the idea to me. I mean, the first time Tom and I left Jack with grandparents for the weekend, we recorded a DVD for him and instructed the gramps to play it. More than once. It's possible they laughed at us. The way I am laughing at myself, now. In any case, you see what I'm saying. Sending him to camp, on a school bus, for a LOT of hours would not have happened.
So here I am sending them both off for some old-fashioned day camp fun. It sounded like such a good idea when I registered, and they were beside themselves at the open house we attended. Farm animals! A war canoe! Creeks! Dirt! Canoeing! Tending plants! New water bottles! And I was envious of the fun I knew they'd have. Downright covetous because I wanted to hold chickens and commune with goats all day too. I felt like such a courageous mom, enabling my boys to have this adventure together.
And then this morning came, and we rounded the corner of a city street and saw the big white school bus (why don't school buses have seat belts?!) and counselors I didn't know from Adam, and my heart started to pound just a bit, and my stomach talked to me quietly. I put a brave smile on my face and walked the boys to the bus, and I swear to you, quicker than you could blink they were on that bus finding seats together. I planted myself near their window, all blowing kisses and carrying on about missing them. And they tolerated me in an extremely loving fashion. As I took my first steps back to the car, I could tell they didn't even notice. They were just so excited and open and willing to brave an unknown. And I burst with pride and called my own mother to tell her that my little boys were on a school bus all by themselves and she burst with pride too.
Then I realized that I had EIGHT and change hours to myself. And that I'll have that again tomorrow and the next day and the next.
And that maybe I'll be able to breathe a bit, to slow my pace, to tell Hurry to shove off. Perhaps I'll be able to finish up on all the to-dos I've let languish and then invest myself in the activities I've been pining to do but haven't felt able to prioritize. Maybe the wellspring that's sourced my writing font will run rapid again, the bottleneckers, Stress and Busy, no longer rude obstructionists of which I'm quite tired.
Maybe I'll have time to miss my boys, maybe even time to feel a bit lonely in my blissfully quiet home. Perhaps I'll reclaim the stasis that enables me to be the kind of mother I really want to be, with real energy rather than pretend, with some of the lightness that's been softly tamped over the past few months.
As the hours passed today, I felt the benefit of this time for myself and the promise of more tomorrow. I talked to several friends on the phone, sent flowers to a birthday girl, walked Percy -twice!- got some work done for the boys' school, dealt with one pile of "important" crap. I felt Calm seep in and wash my brow with its cool hands. I day-dreamed while pitting cherries. I made a jam plan for tomorrow. And when the late hour drew near, I hurriedly put on a bit of make-up and some sandals so I could take my loves out for a celebratory dinner and dessert. They tumbled off the bus, filthy and happy and pooped. We got caught in a torrential downpour and laughed for two hours straight. It felt really good.