Transitions – or why day camp is a big deal

My eldest child went to summer day camp today.

Up until last week, she was in daycare – she’s only just 4 1/2 so not in Kindergarten yet.  That begins in September. We thought that summer day camp would help ease the transition from 3 days a week in daycare where they provide lunch and help in the bathroom to school, to where all of a sudden come September these little ones are supposed to be big boys and girls.

And I’m not prepared for this.  We had her in this lovely cocoon of a daycare – Waldorf if you know what that is.  However, we don’t have private school salaries, so she goes to the local school in the fall.  Which is a great school in a lovely neighbourhood with the children of people we really like.

But there is something big about moving from the place that I took her three days a week for three years of her life to this new school.  Not that it was all unicorns and sunshine at the daycare – at the beginning when I left her in the classroom she would be crying and I would be crying and I would call B from the car to tell her all about the crying.  It was hard to trust my beautiful, vulnerable baby to someone else to care for.  School, though, school is bigger.  More permanent.  A serious step away from the cocoon into real life. All of a sudden we have to pay attention to the school day for drop off and pick up, for holiday plans and dentist appointments.

Last night we made her lunch for the day together – and it was lovely.  Choosing the food she would eat, helping her learn to peel the carrots and decide if the ham would be cubed or rolled in little tubes, washing the cherries.  We packed quite a lot of food, but still I worry – will it be enough?  Will she like the little muffins I made? Will she be hungry or bring most of it back?  Will she be ok?

My baby, my first born, is one little step closer to being her own strong, independent soul in the world, which is my job to help her be.  But my momma heart is breaking as my little chick takes a few steps out on that limb toward where she doesn’t really need me anymore.

But today, when she comes home from this grand adventure, there will still be snuggles and cuddles and how was your day, because for now we are still the safety of the nest she needs.  Today I can still make everything better with a kiss and story time is the highlight of the day.  And so I will try to stay present in today.


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