Today Lucia went to Fifth Grade Camp with her school. It's two nights of 120 fifth graders staying in cabins on an island doing fifth grade stuff. Quite honestly, it might be a bigger deal for me than it is for her. Last night I wrote Lucia a letter with an emergency sesame snack and ear plugs.
I'm a sentimental mom. I always write Lucia notes when she goes on trips without me or when she goes to camp; I even write Lucia a little note everyday in her lunch box. I'm not sure if she even reads them, but I love to write them.
In her Fifth Grade Camp letter, I wished Lucia lots of adventures during her two days away. While writing, I thought about what is was like to be eleven. So much is new, exciting, a little bit scary. Last night Lucia was convinced that her suitcase was going to be the biggest one, that no one else would pack their sleeping bag and pillow in a Hefty trash bag, that bringing rain boots was silly.
In Lucia's Fifth Grade Camp letter, I talked about how ready she was for this new experience, how fun it would be to do all the amazing things only a critical mass of 10 and 11 year olds can do. As I wrote, I imagined all the new things the kids would have to negotiate without their parents-- who sleeps on the top bunk; where to stash dirty laundry; how to find the toilet in the middle of the night. And all of the amazing activities they'll do that will bond them during this tender prepubescent time-- campfire songs, Capture the Flag, ropes courses, baby crushes.
Almost all of the activities at Fifth Grade Camp-- the scary and the amazing-- will put Lucia and her peers outside of their comfort zone. I worry that my kid will be the one who gets desperately homesick or the poor thing who breaks her wrist on the balance beam challenge course. But if she does, it's still okay. She'll still be doing something new, working shit out with her friends, learning to take steps into more independence.
Yoga takes me to this place sometimes. Hard to balance postures, teachers who hold me in one place until I feel as though I might die, resistance to practicing at all some days-- all of these experiences put me in a place that feels awkward, uncomfortable, sometimes downright bad. But when I've finished practice and roll up my mat, I feel good. I got through it. I did it.
I'll pick Lucia up from the Fifth Grade Camp bus on Friday afternoon. I can so clearly imagine it. Her hair will be greasy. Her jeans will be filthy. She will be ready to get home and back to her comfy bed, her stack of books. But in my image of picking her up, I also envision Lucia's exhausted face radiating the glow of strength, courage, and pride because it was a little hard, a little intense, but in the end, she did it.