My Kid Went Camping Without Me

“I am your Ima (mother), and it is my job to keep you safe.” This is what I tell my kids when they aren't listening to me. Like if they aren't staying close enough when we are in a crowded place or something like that. I know this to be true when they are little, but what about when they get bigger? What is my job now? I watched my 12 year old go out the door yesterday to a 4 day overnight nature adventure with his school class. I was surprised to feel tears stinging my eyes, and a knot twisting in my stomach. Iʼm not a helicopter mom, I trust my kid. I want him to go out into the world and share his smile and compassion. But then I want him to come right back home to me so I can make sure he is well hydrated, ate some leafy greens today, and that no one was cruel to him. Because if they are I will kick some middle school ass. Joking, um, sort of. It was so cute, when he was packing, he asked for an herbal All Purpose Salve for his bag, in case someone gets a bug bite or a little scrape or burn, and then asked for an extra one to give a friend. He has such sweet and generous soul. Please world, honor it. Please. When he first was born, and I met him and really felt his open heart, I remember hearing myself say the words “Oh Gd, what have I done?”. I cried and grieved for the loss of peace and connectedness he was experiencing of going from the blissful state of oneness to the separate physical existence I had brought him to in this life.I watched him learn to function, I watch him struggle to find the balance between being insulated enough to survive and being courageous enough to feel this life. I watch him lead with his heart open and I am so proud. And I wait here on the ready. I too am courageous. I know he has good camping sense because we have been camping his whole life, I know he has warm socks because I watched him pack them. I even made his toss in an extra pair. I know he is in good hands because I trust his devoted teachers. Um, I think. And still I found myself waking up with a start, in the middle of the night, wanting to go put an extra blanket on him. I always do that when we are camping. I am at the age where I have some friends who are starting to have kids leave the nest. Some of them are ready to party, and some are sad. What now? We give our everything, and then they take it with them, and they go. Do we want them to stay? Maybe just a little longer.