Rob and I returned from Minnesota last Wednesday afternoon; Abby got home on Thursday. On Saturday, Rob and Ian headed out on their road trip to Oxford, Ohio where Ian is spending two weeks in Miami University's Summer Scholars program.
At the parent meeting for Abby's soccer camp, the leaders told us this would be a good first step toward college for the girls. They were responsible for getting themselves where they needed to be, when they needed to be there. They had to remember their gear and their water, and be sure to change their socks and clothes frequently enough that they didn't develop any strange rashes. They ate in the dining hall and slept in the dormitory and if they had lost their keys it would have cost
Ian's two week experience at Miami will be an even greater pre-college test. The question is, who will perform better, him or me?
While I usually welcome the opportunity to have a few days away from my children, I have to confess that this June-July anomaly has me a bit freaked out. Let's face it, these exoduses away from home are just harbingers of things to come. And those things to come will be here before I know it. And quite frankly, I'm not sure I'm ready. Me. The one who started counting down the days till they left for college when they were three. Me. The one who thought this motherhood thing might have been a poor (and irreversible) job choice. Me. The one with the 10-year plan that includes no one except me and Rob on a beach somewhere. How has this happened? How is it that I actually have a small ache in my heart?
I think what happened is that I've grown to really like my kids. Loving your children is pretty much a given, but liking them? Not always. As they've gotten older, we actually have meaningful conversations (as long as Ian's not sitting in front of a screen of some sort), and I find I truly enjoy their company. Ian's bright, quick wit never fails to amuse and impress, and Abby's observations, intelligence and competitive spirit provide a challenge.
I'm amazed at the way they've both changed in the past year or so; Ian, in particular. Last summer he couldn't wait to come home from two camp experiences right here at Villanova, 15 minutes from home. He was miserable. This year he's nine hours away for two weeks, spending his days with complete strangers. And he loves it. He's made friends, enjoys his classes (The Business of Sports), and finds the whole experience "great." "Great" is high praise indeed from a 16-year-old boy. On day one it was only "good."
Knowing that Ian's doing well has eased that small ache, but I do miss his sense of humor. I suppose I better get used to it.
This Saturday, while Ian's still in Ohio, Rob, Abby, my mom and I will drive 10 hours to Banner Elk, NC for our church mission trip. We'll leave a day early, Friday, August 1, in order to pick up Ian at the Baltimore airport where he'll fly in from Cincinnati at the conclusion of his Miami U. experience. We'll return home that night where we will begin the month of August with nothing more than Vacation Bible School on the calendar.
It'll be weird, being together like that. I just hope the kids don't get on my nerves.