The Letter I Wish I Wrote

Dear Ben,

Today is your first day of camp. Holy cow! You’re going to be gone for almost three weeks. I can’t believe that you’ll be away for that long.

You were telling me the other day that maybe you were just a little bit nervous. That maybe you’ll miss me. That maybe you’re worried you won’t know anybody. That you didn’t know what it was really like there.

We took some time to talk about your worries. We went on the website to see pictures and videos. I told you all about how it was for me on my first day of camp. I told you all about how you’ll know your bunkmates by the time you go to bed tonight.

What I didn’t tell you is how secretly happy I was to hear those words. You see, you’re not the only one who doesn’t quite know what to expect. Oh, I’m fine predicting what you’ll eat, what your cabin will look like and what you’re going to do. I can guess what songs you’ll sing, and what kinds of things you’ll do during your rest time.

Here’s the thing, Ben. I know the boy who’s getting on the bus tomorrow. He’s funny and goofy. He doesn’t like to spread the cream cheese on his own bagel, even though he can bike to the grocery store. He appreciates a good back scratch. He’ll put his head on my shoulder, and he even lets me call him “sweetie” sometimes when we’re in public.

But who will I see when it’s time for you to come home? Your hair will be grown, you’ll be tan and I’m sure you’ll seem about a foot taller than when you left. But what sorts of new things will you know? What new independence will you have won, and expect to keep upon your return? Will you still grab my hand when we walk through the parking lot? Will you still ask for extra snuggle time, and sit on my lap at baseball games?

And I’m hoping you enjoyed the letter I actually wrote you. I wanted to tell you how much I miss you already, but I worry that you’ll worry about me. I want you to know you’re needed here and loved, but I love you so much that I want you to feel good about having some space from a life here at home.

So have fun. Enjoy your time. Learn. Grow. Be you. And when I see you (whoever you are), I will be there with a great big hug.

And maybe, just maybe, you’ll let me hold your hand on the way to the car.

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6 Responses to “The Letter I Wish I Wrote”

  1. Sue Black Says:

    a beautiful letter. he’s one lucky boy

  2. Jean Chesney Says:

    Your friend and mine is away right now. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Pat Boehm Says:

    Tears, sniffles – you can sure tug at the heart strings. You’re a good mommy, Lainie.

  4. Gail Kruge Says:

    I wish I could have written something like that for Adam. He just spent 3 weeks in Europe with People to People. He did come back tanned & an inch taller. And one of the best things is that when he got off the plane, I was the first one he went to for a welcome home hug. Even though I got tired of telling him to clean his room & be more organized before his trip, I missed him in no time at all. The reunion was the best. I hope Ben has fun at camp!

  5. Carolyn Stearns Says:

    First its camp, then extended visits, then colleges far away, backpacking a summer in Europe yikes that was a LONG time! Now one lives 12 hours away , its hard, every day and the grandbaby I hardly ever hold. When they are home its so loud and when they are gone the silence is deafening! Toughest job in the world…Mom

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Thanks for visiting, Carolyn! And you’re right. I am going to blink and be where you are. I know it’s the natural order, and it mostly makes me happy and proud. But maybe a little bit sad too.

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