Over the weekend, we brought our oldest daughter to her first sleep away camp. Since we have friends an hour from Penn State, and we love them dearly, we thought Penn State Gymnastics Camp would be perfect for her. I could stay with our friends in case our Gymnastics Queen needed anything, and she could try sleep away camp.
Being that she is only just nine, I was worried. I had nightmares about her remembering her shoes in the shower and eating something other than soft serve for lunch.
The weeks leading up to camp, I was definitely more worried than she was.
Growing up, I went to plenty of sports camps, I probably averaged three a summer when I was in high school. I was big into field hockey, and there were summers I did three camps in a row. I would go to Cornell. Then right to Princeton. I'd be home a few days and head to Old Dominion.
It was a blast.
There are two big differences between my camp experiences and my daughter's. The first being I was in high school. The second being I always went with friends.
She is not in high school. She also decided to go on her own.
Thank heavens another girl from her gymnastics team decided to go as well. The upside is this girl is twelve, and my worries about my daughter waking up on time were relieved.
The downside is that her teammate is not in her group, and not the same level. Aside from rooming together, my girl is alone. And without her gym buddies.
Drop off yesterday went well, there was much commotion and excitement with 200 girls moving into the dorms for the week. We made her bed, unpacked her bags, and she began the mighty "door decoration contest" immediately.
I could tell my girl was a little apprehensive, but I left her all smiles, ready to start camp.
Last night, I was able to speak to my daughter on her teammates cell phone. I could sense a little sadness. But then she asked me exactly what to wear to the shower, since she obviously can't walk down the hall naked.
I hoped my mom radar needed adjusting, and her apprehension on the phone was shower related.
Around 10:20pm, I saw a missed call on my cell. It was my girl. In my heart I knew she was homesick. I comforted myself by knowing I would see her today. We were driving back to State College to bring my son to a football camp (that is another story).
When we peeked in the gym this morning at Penn State, I saw my daughter. And I knew she was sad. She came out to use the bathroom, and Hubby asked her how its going.
She started to cry.
I went over and hugged her big, and told her to shake it off. She has the whole week left. No time for tears. I wanted her to go back in that gym and make friends.
Even though she never said it, I knew she wanted to come home.
I sent her back in the gym. And then I told Hubby we had to blow that pop stand. The more we hung around, watching through the windows, the more she wanted to see us.
It was time to be strong for her, because she needed to be at camp on her own.
Wish me luck this week as I console her from the phone. It may be a long week in Pennsylvania. I'm hoping not, because that gymnastics camp was no joke.
Those girls were having a blast. Now I just hope my daughter does too.