What happens when you have two kids who are slow to warm, suffer from varying degrees of separation anxiety, and just want to play sports all day? You stick ’em in a science and art camp for 6 hours every day for a week.
I’ll admit, though I was thrilled with the idea of my boys doing Camp Galileo this summer, I wasn’t totally sure how they’d respond. But now, three days in, I couldn’t be happier that I took the risk. Because now they’re taking risks too.
Day one started on the rocky side, I’ll be honest. Big? He shocked me by wandering off onto the playground where he knew nobody. (Who was this confident kid disguised as my son?!) Little, well, he was extremely emotional (though that’s not unusual these days), and I didn’t know if I should leave him. Eventually I did, but I spent the entire day in a tailspin starring at my phone, waiting for them to beg me to come get him. Nothing.
Come pick-up time, I arrived 30 minutes early to secure the best parking spot and pole position in Little’s pick-up line. He came out of the classroom laughing and his patient, fun-loving counselor said he actually did really well. He cried a bit here and there (understandably missing his irresistible mother), but he had a lot of fun. Phew. Then I noticed every counselor we saw walking to Big’s classroom saying hi to Little. By name. Hmm.
When we picked up Big, his counselor also took the time to give me a report about his day and how he did. Then he came out and replied to my many questions with, “Best. Camp. Ever!” Really? Even better than sports camps? Really. Hmm.
As we wandered our way to the car, the Camp Director stopped me, “Hi, are you Little’s mom?” Gulp. She then proceeded to tell me how they handled his rough morning by sending an extra counselor in to help him. Yikes! I apologized and she smiled, explaining that they have extra staff on hand exactly for that reason. Pure relief, from this mama (who probably spent more time crying during the day then her sensitive little camper).
The ride home was filled with chatter of scratch drawings, jet-pack engineering, and outdoor games. Big was going out of his way to tell me cool things he saw Little doing from afar, and he was oozing confidence and happiness. (Again, who?) Little was chiming in and thrilled to have been a part of something his big brother did too.
Day two was a festival of awesomely painted crazy hair. (Each day has a dress-up theme.) I may or may not have had to pay Little a dollar to join in the crazy, but once he was on board, there was no stopping him.
Again at pick up, every counselor said hi to Little as we wandered the camp area. And he even answered them.
Day three? That was today. After getting my camper report from Little’s team leader, he came running out with a big smile. “I hardly cried at all today!” Pride. Progress. Perfect. And the Camp Director confirmed in passing that’s he’s doing better and better each day. Big, too, came out with a huge smile and non-stop chatter about the cool stuff he got to do. And they both waved to friends. Kids I’d never seen in my life. My kids. Making jet packs. Art projects. And friends with strangers.
Phew. Tomorrow we’re playing hookey for our 4th of July traditions, but they’re both really excited to go back on Friday. And I can’t help but wonder who’s getting more out of this time. Them, with the fun and creativity and craziness. Or me, with the confidence I’m gaining in each of them. Either way, it’s a good thing. A really good thing.
Disclosure: This post is part of a series sponsored by Camp Galileo. All opinions are my own.