I have dropped Elizabeth off for a week of Girl Scout camp, and I am feeling anxious and bereft. But, happily, not even HALF as anxious and bereft as last year, when it was the first time she’d ever gone to sleep-away camp and also the drop-off went so terribly I ended up feeling like I’d left her with people who wouldn’t even remember to feed her or make sure she didn’t wander off into the woods (and afterward learned of even more issues).
SO much better this year, though. For one thing, even though the drop-off was still poorly organized and non-intuitive, I’d DONE it before so I knew what to expect and didn’t have to figure it all out this time. My first time doing new things, I’m at a stress-level of 11, defined as “Assuming I will die on the trip and so before I leave should make sure everyone has enough clean clothes for the funeral”; the second time, I drop down to about a 4-5.
And because this year we didn’t sign up for the very first week of camp, there were far fewer mishaps and confusions on the camp’s end, too. The only one that annoyed me is that they said I needed a prescription for the Benadryl she’s supposed to take if she has an allergic reaction to tree nuts. Since I had to fill out all those health/medication forms with a deadline back in May, I think “at the moment of drop-off” is unreasonably late for the “You need a prescription for an over-the-counter medication used for emergencies” information. Anyway, I was annoyed but it’s not a huge deal, especially because I was JUST complaining about not finding online doctor sites useful yet, and then last night was able to use the site to request the doctor fax the camp the prescription, so that was happy (assuming it WORKS).
Also, it helps HUGELY that THIS year I know that LAST year she was happy and everything went fine as far as she was concerned. The things I was MOST anxious about (that all her stuff might have gotten soaking wet; that she would be sad and scared and hate it and have a terrible time) didn’t happen: when I picked her up, she didn’t entirely want to come with me. So I’m still doing things like monitoring the weather in her zip code and feeling sad when I realize she’s not sleeping in her room, but I’m not feeling like I made a terrible mistake to let her go and that I need to drink and cry every night. Progress!
Also, on the way home, the person in front of me paid the toll for me. I think that person would be enormously gratified if they could have seen me choking up about it intermittently all the way home. I mean, that’s like the FANTASY for pay-it-forwardy randomy-acts-of kindness: that it will be done for someone who is having kind of a rough day, who will then be Deeply Affected by that small kindness.