I'm home again.
We broke up the drive to North Carolina into 2 days. On Saturday we went as far as Blacksburg, VA where we arrived hours before check in time at the hotel so we had time to do a few errands. We also had plenty of time to check out Mosaic and buy a little yarn. (More on that tomorrow.) In the evening I took the girls to see the new Harry Potter movie. It was fine. I'm not a huge HP fan but DQ is and she said that the movie was mostly true to the book although there were a few things she felt couls have been done better.
On Sunday morning we completed the drive. The traffic moved at a pretty good clip and before we knew it, we were in Asheville, stopping for lunch and a mini yarn crawl. The stores we saw there were ones I've visited before but fun anyway - Earth Guild and Asheville Home Crafts. (Again, more on that tomorrow.)
We finally checked in at our hotel on Sunday night in plenty of time to prepare for the back to camp festivities. The rest of the night was a blur of kids squealing with delight as they saw friends they hadn't seen since last year. DQ was thrilled to see a certain boy and the two of them were inseperable most of the night. (Awwww... how sweet.) Stink found a few new friends too and had a blast. I was left on my own, meeting parents and keeping tabs on where ther girls were.
Dropping my daughters off each year inspires mixed emotions in me. On one hand, I am so happy for them. It makes me feel so wonderful to be able to give them such a fabulous experience. When I see them connecting and reconnecting with the kids at camp, I know that they are in the best place for them to be.
The camp is in the mountains of Western North Carolina and the setting is beautiful and rustic with fresh air and plenty of room to run around and spread out. The program is built around appreciation of Jewish heritage and traditions and the shared background among the campers creates a sense of instant community among kids who come from all over the country. (This year I saw license plates from Louisiana, Florida, Indiana, New Jersey, Colorado, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, DC & Georgia and there are many kids who fly in.) All this is good and gives me a sense that the money it takes to send my girls here is well spent.
On the flip side of all of my pleasure at sending my girls to camp are feelings of jealousy and a little sadness. I grew up wishing that I could go to a camp like this. I knew friends that did and I read about it in books. It always sounded like so much fun and now I can see that it's everything I dreamed it could be.
As I left the camp on Monday, my eyes were surprisingly dry. In the past I cried for a while after parting with my girls because I miss them so much instantly. Not this time. This is DQ's 4th year at camp and I knew, without a doubt, that she'd be fine. For her, the month at camp is the best part of the year. For Stink this is something new. She's been away overnight before but never too far from home and never this long. In the weeks before camp I kept saying that she's a really strong, independent kid and I was confident that she'd be just fine but... inside I worried. What if she cries when I leave? What if deep down she's feeling separation anxiety? What if she's scared? She's actually about a year younger than the rest of her bunk and normally, a kid her age would do a mini session. Were we pushing her to go away before she was ready?
She dismissed me! My Stinkerbelle was making friends before she even finished packing and, on the way to lunch, she asked if she could go now. Where? Back to the bunk to play with her new friends. The picture at right was taken during out brief tour of the camp with her new bunkmate. She just couldn't wait to go off and do her own thing. As I left the camp for the long ride home I knew, without a doubt, that my girls were just fine without me. It's kind of a sobering thought.