Warm tears streaming down my face, my body shaking with sobs I drove away from my boys. I’d just dropped them off for two weeks of fun filled summer camp and the bittersweet moment was hitting me full force.
This was the very same summer camp I attended as a child. Completely unplugged from technology, sticky summer days were filled with horseback riding, swimming, tennis, roller skating and a myriad of other activities. I did a lot of growing up there. I learned how to share a cabin (and one bathroom!) with 11 other girls. I had my very first kiss there. I helped younger kids overcome their fear of horses and reaped the rewards of their love and admiration. I mucked stalls. I fell off horses far more often than I care to admit. Huge capture the flag games, watermelon seed spitting contests, dances – all these amazing happy memories.
Driving away, I couldn’t imagine how my parents did it. I was only leaving my boys 2 weeks, but every summer I begged to stay a full 8 weeks. My parents only caved once and every year after told me they missed me too much to let me stay the entire time. I never believed them until the moment I watched my two little boys shoo me away so they could begin their fun.
This year, the camp has a new feature. Every day they upload photos to a secure website and every evening I race home and faithfully stalk the new photos. It’s my new evening ritual, scouring the albums for my boys’ faces. Seeing these photos has helped me cope with leaving them. I can see the happy glow emanating from them.
This proud mama oohs and aahs over a photo of my Little Bit, confidently standing at the top of a zip line, ready to jump! A few days later I puzzle over which critter Big Bit has trapped with a net. I’m not a helicopter parent, but I treasure these glimpses into their daily lives while away. I’m thankful that technology helps connect me to them without intruding on their independence and fun.
Then one evening something unexpected came in the mail:
I lost it. These two simple words meant more to me than all the photos combined. Clearly Little Bit was too busy having his “good time” to do anything more than scratch out these two little words.
I love technology. I love how amazing it is at making distance meaningless. But, sometimes it’s the simple things that mean the most.