Eldest has been away from home since Monday, doing his part to meet California state standards with regard to outdoor education. All of the fifth graders at our school are at a place called Walker Creek. They return today, having spent three nights and most of four days learning about...outdoor stuff, I reckon.
Kids from many different counties get shipped off to Walker Creek, which happens to be owned by the Marin County of Office of Education. I know kids from as far away as San Jose or Fresno come here. A much bigger trip in distance for them than it is for our kids.
But distance hardly matters when you're not allowed contact with your child and vice-versa. [As my grandmother said to my mother once when I was 16 and wanting to drive down with friends the 12 hours to Myrtle Beach, "You might as well let her go. She can do anything here that she could do there." Strange how that's less comforting when you're the parent and not the kid.]
Anyway, Eldest has never been away from family for more than a sleepover, so he was facing it with some trepidation. I'd be lying if I didn't point out that I was nervous about how he'd do. We got a post card from him yesterday. He said he thought he was going to have a lot of fun, especially since his best friend and another good friend were in the same cabin as he was. [That I never doubted for a minute. He and his best friend are good kids. Why would you punish good kids by separating them?]
I've seen the future these last few days. Yes, he's only 11. He won't be out on his own for quite a few more years. But he'll start stretching his wings more and more. Sooner rather than later, he'll be out and about and I won't know where he is. His bedtime will shift later and later and soon our nightly rituals will no longer be. Just like they didn't happen the past three nights. He'll share less and less of his life with me, with Pete, with his siblings. Friends will come to the forefront. Then, yikes, girlfriends.
Always one for the melodramatic, I've essentially got him married and with kids of his own, calling in every other week or so to say hi. [SHUDDER!]
It'll all come to pass, of course. It's meant to happen that way. Tonight, though, I'm going to live in the here and now and learn of all his adventures of the last four days. Or at least the adventures he's willing to share with his mom. I need to practice living more in the here and now. I guess now is as good a time to start as any.