Monday, June 22, 2009

Wherein I Realize That I Am The Problem

My father-in-law has been known to say that as a parent, one makes mistakes daily, and the more experience I get under my belt as a mommy, the more I realize that he is absolutely right. My first mistake of the day (well, my first PARENTING mistake of the day) occurred this morning when I dropped Grace off for her first day of day camp at the YMCA.

Before I tell the story, an admission: I admit to feeling anxious about today. Last night as I was packing Grace's backpack and her lunch for today, I had that same vaguely sick, nervous feeling I would get in the pit of my stomach before I had my own first days of Girl Scout camp, band camp, etc. It's hard (for me, anyway) to go to a place where I don't know anyone and be expected to have a good time right away. I need time to warm up, and, I thought, Grace is the same way. She used to be the same way. She needed to go into new environments slowly, hanging back and observing for a while and clinging to my hand before she dove in. And so, I felt nervous for her, knowing that she would be doing something new with a group of people she didn't know, and honestly, I didn't know that the drop off this morning would go well. I thought there would be tears and clinging and coaxing and the inevitable guilt that comes with leaving your frightened child with a group of people she doesn't know well yet.

God. Writing it down makes it seem like my kid is a wuss. She's not. It's me.

So, on the way to the Y this morning, I spent a lot of time telling Grace that she was going to have SO MUCH FUN at day camp and that she was going to make ALL SORTS OF FRIENDS and how I was SO JEALOUS that she was going to have so much fun. At the time, I thought I was trying to convince Grace that this was a wonderful idea, but now, I realize I was trying to convince myself. And Grace just sat in the back seat, listening to me and giving me the occasional, "Uh huh."

When we arrived at camp, we proceeded to the check-in area, and as soon as she was checked in, Grace acted like she was just going to run off into the playground without me. When I told her to wait up, she rolled her eyes a little bit but conceded, and then I escorted her over to the shed where the kids' backpacks and lunches were being kept for the day. After Grace dropped her stuff off, I asked the camp counselor who was manning the shed if I should walk Grace to the playground. His response was, "Or she can just run over there herself." Hmm. Much to my surprise, Grace begged me to run over to the playground herself, but I told her that I would walk there with her to make sure she was all right. Ugh.

So, I walked her over to an area where some little girls were playing with puzzles and asked her if she wanted to sit down and play. She looked at the playground for a moment as she was deciding what she wanted to do, and then another camp counselor came over and introduced herself to Grace. She asked Grace if she was nervous to be alone without Mommy today, and Grace answered, confidently, "No." The counselor asked Grace if she wanted to play on the playground, and Grace of course said that she wanted to. Then I glanced around the playground and realized that I was the only parent there. And Grace and the counselor both looked at me as if to ask, "So what's the problem?"

Argh. I am the problem.

Sorry, kiddo. Go run and play.


Carrie said...

Such a sweet post. Isn't it great how quickly they change and grow? We can hardly be blamed if it takes us some time to adjust to the new them.