Love is there
Two parts annoyed, one part thrilled - *UPDATED!*

His very own week

We arrived at camp a few hours before the week started, in time to get Tre checked in and spend a few hours wandering around aimlessly. Mom, who had come along to help during the million-hour drive through the night, bought the boys treats at the snack shop. We huddled in the shade and watched the concert given by the previous week's campers. Tre had a blue pixie stick and he offered some to his brothers. Raphael tipped his face back and opened his mouth, and Tre poured a tiny stream of blue sugar dust onto his tongue. A breeze caught some of it and swirled it around his face, leaving a streak of blue along his cheek. They laughed together, Raphael snorting as he clamped his mouth shut around his candy, Tre looking down at him with indulgent fondness.

A few minutes later I asked Raphael to pass me the water bottle, and he did. As I drank from it, I tasted the tart sweetness of the pixie stick on its mouth. I licked the taste from my lips.

Remember this moment, I told myself, although I didn't know why.

When I hugged Tre the last time, he shook inside my arms, and he laid his head down on my shoulder. Heat radiated off his skin as the realization of what was happening washed over both of us. The laughing bravado he'd worn all day was gone. I said goodbye and we drove away. Max twisted around in his seat to watch Tre as long as he could, Raphael glared at his knees, Mom drove, and I wept behind my sunglasses, trying to act like I could stand this even a little bit.

That night we camped nearby, although my cell phone didn't get any service where we were, so it might as well have been a different continent, not fifteen miles up the road. We had a campfire, of course, and as we all huddled around it, Max and Raphael clutching sticks to poke the fire, me clutching a wide-eyed Sophia, and Mom patting my shoulder, the wood smoke wrapped around us. I breathed in its smell, and it struck me as exceedingly odd that Tre wouldn't be going to bed with smoky hair. I thought back to the pixie stick moment that afternoon.

Since Tre was born, our lives have been like that moment. One of us experiences something, the other tastes it on their own tongue. The boys and I are exceptionally close, sharing both the bond of those who survived a divorce and the daily bond of homeschooling. This is both the reason it is so hard to leave him there this week, and the reason it's so important that I do.

These days, with him gone, seem unreal. I look at the clock and check the camp schedule, and picture him at the moment. We are eating breakfast, I think, and he is in choir rehearsal. We are driving to the library, and he is in a private lesson. We are at Raphael's ball game, and he is having game night. I miss him with a silent frantic ache and feel like I'm just marking time, moving through the moments until he's back. But even though I can't really see it, I know that he is living a very brightly colored week.

And that is the point of it all. That is the whole reason.


Diahn Ott

This post made me gasp with understanding and empathy...I sent mine to a camp this year that was not sleep away but lasted 12 hours each day and I had such longing for them - knowing all the time that it was so good for them.

That phrase - "One of us experiences something, the other tastes it on their own tongue." - absolute poetry.

Thank you for this one.

natasha the exile on Mom Street

That was lovely Kira. Simply lovely.

Amma Always

I didn't come to help with the "Million hour drive through the night". I came to drive the van away from Tre and the camp at that moment when the rest of you were stunned and immobilized by the impact of leaving him.

It was hard to leave that child. But there was a lot of fun, too. I just have to add some of my memories too.

Much leaping about the campfire, and Raphi flinging wood and pine cones into the flames from 4 feet away, creating a wave of sparks. The joy of how a handful of dry pine needles can make a fire flame up into a bonfire. The joy when we packed up and left without burning down the forest!

Hiking through the pines in the early morning with Max and Raphael, smelling trees, leaping from rock to rock and wondering about everything and "Oh, Amma, look at this!" The butterscotch or vanilla smell of trees. Raphi and Max and I would smell the cracks between the bark, and one of them would say "Definitely vanilla" or "Definitely butterscotch", like they had just settled a burning question.

And you - amazing woman - setting up a tent with the help of an 8 year old and a 10 year old, while I held the baby, helping only a little here and there while Max took turns holding the baby. And it was beautifully done. I was so impressed with your skill.

Marshmallows for breakfast - and another fire, of course.

The five baby birds (swallows)in their nest at a rest stop that quietly delighted all of us.

Enchiladas in Santa Fe, with carne adovada in red chile. Only in New Mexico. Mmmmmmm.

Thanks for letting me go along. I had so much fun, and I am so tired!


I love you. And I love your mom. Sigh.

Pamela L

What a wonderful time! You have to miss them but you have to let them go - just remember the wonderful moment when you are reunited.

Your mom is great - what a wonderful pair you two are. I love being part of your beautiful family in this way - Thank you.


I'm the same when my girls go to band camp, and it's just for the weekend, not a whole week. I keep checking the timetable to see what they're doing, and I miss them so badly I wonder how I will ever stand it when they grow up and move out.

But as you say, I know it's the right thing to do. They have a wonderful time, in spite of a little homesickness, and it's a good experience for them. And part of the job description for motherhood is to help them grow into people who can confidently stand on their own feet in the world. It's just not one of my favourite parts!


This makes me feel like crap, because Samantha spent last week at Girl's Camp and there were no tears, no angst, and I hardly even worried about her when it was pouring rain down here (she was in the mountains) and I figured they would be trying to set up their tents. Which is why you will be going to heaven, and I am hoping you'll come visit me.

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