Roots and Wings and Camp

“Give them roots and wings and camp.”

That was one of my favorite comments on my Facebook post on Monday. All three of my kids left for sleep-away camp that day. (My 7 year old for a week, my 9 year old for 2 weeks and my 11 year old for a month!) I wept openly, humiliated them, employed yoga breathing… Then did a little jig when the buses were gone!

My summers at sleep away camp were some of the greatest times of my life. Seminal moments happened there: first true friendships, first kiss, first taste of independence. I wish all of these things for my kids.

I’ve been away from my children before, but at camp they are completely off the grid. No phones, no texting—only snail mail and whatever pictures the camp posts on its website. (I’m now scouring the website like a mad stalker for any glimpse of them!) But in the end, I know I’m giving them a gift when I nudge them onto the bus when all I really want is one more hug.

Before they left, I shared some stories of my camp experiences. They were in rapt attention when I told them about Matt Wallach, the boy I first kissed behind Bunk 13 (we’re still friends on Facebook). They were horrified we had to shower in groups (agreed, it was a little weird). And sympathized that we had services (Jewish prayers) every day. Yes, every day. For me, camp was freedom, education, and where I grew up. I wish that for my kids. I do miss them, but I’m also jealous of them!

Every year, I know the kid I put on that bus is getting off that bus a very different person. I can’t wait to meet them.

This week, I wish you roots, wings, and camp! And a couple of stolen kisses behind Bunk 13.