Dear Aaron: It's your first overnight camp!

Dear Aaron,

Tonight is your first night at your first over-night summer camp. I know I pushed you to this experience, but I still cannot help worrying if you are crying yourself to sleep. It is so difficult being a parent. On one hand, I want you to stay small and within my eyesight, yet, I need to push you to expand your comfort zone and explore the world. I am constantly trying to find a balance between the two forces.

Last night, you cried yourself to sleep, unwilling to go. You’ve known about this camp for a while to be mentally prepared. And you were still happy as of 8pm when we were packing together. But as we lied in bed at 9pm, you started saying that you really don’t want to go. A part of me was angry at you for not appreciating the relatively large sum of money that we paid for the camp, yet a part of me was wondering if I’m pushing you toward something that you are not ready for. At the end, I decided that I wouldn’t force you to go if you really don’t want to, though I’m not sure if my tone of voice and body language still betrayed the part of me that was angry. As I watched you finally fell asleep, I prayed that our Lord may give you the courage to undertake this challenge.

In the morning, you woke up still unwilling to go. You knew I wanted you to go and you asked me for me opinion. I told you to decide. Yes, it’s a lot of money going to waste if you decide not to go, but perhaps it’s money worth spending to wait for you to be truly ready. I told you that even if you do not want to attend the camp, we still need to go tell the teachers that you are not going… so, the option of going would still open to you until the last minute when the bus drives away. You saw through me, though.

On our drive over, you were characteristically quiet when you are nervous. You felt sick with the butterfly in your stomach. You felt the presence of the monster that grows from within your stomach to consume you whole before you get on stage or go into a competition. I told you that I, too, am nervous; you did not respond. At one red light, I looked back and you smiled at me. Your smile was so genuine that it soothed my worry… well, at least cut it by half. Then, I knew in my heart that you are ready and that you will be okay. Thank you, my baby, for reassuring me when I most needed.

It was a rush sending you away because you are the last one to arrive! We did not have anytime to bid a touchy feely farewell, which was probably a good thing. Anakin wanted to go with you when he saw you left. Then, as the night fell, he asked again for you, expecting you to be home from “school.” Surprisingly, though, he did remember you telling him that you wouldn’t be home tonight (or tomorrow night) when I reminded him.

I cannot control my motherly worry, but seeing your smile in the camp photo, I believe you are enjoying your time. My baby, I can’t wait for your return to tell me all about the camp.

First day at Camp Taiwan Mini Camp