This past weekend Ezra (9.5) and I drove the 6 hour trek alone together to Lake Tahoe, CA, delivering him to his first ever week of overnight camp, at Camp Woodward! He will be scootering, skateboarding, swimming, (possibly snowboarding!) and being initiated in all that a rigorously athletic Camp with especially talented peers brings to light! He’s been looking forward to this opportunity ever since he first heard about the camp a couple years ago.
We decided to stretch the journey over two days, mostly so I wouldn’t have to drive the 12 hour round-trip all in one day, but also to get some special time together before being apart.
Not unlike my experience of bringing Arayla to her first week of overnight camp a couple years ago, in the hours leading up to our impending separation, I was fascinated to notice Ezra preparing for it by subtly pushing me away, proclaiming his independence and boundaries. There was a palpable tenderness between us as we approached this sacred threshold of his growing up, just a little more, into his extraordinary self.
Yesterday, in the early morning hours waking in our hotel room, Ezra crawled into bed with me and we luxuriated in many minutes of skin-to-skin Mama-son snuggles. With his face close to mine on the pillow, he whispered: “I’m making a memory right now Mom. So if I miss you too much while I’m at camp, I’ll just bring my heart back to this moment, and feel you close beside me.”
“Me too.” I said softly.
Later as we approached Camp Woodward, he skillfully laid out the ground-rules for what our goodbye could consist of. Clearly he had some concerns that I might indulge some weepy or mushy mama-sentiments or embarrassingly expose the outrageous immensity of my love for him. (No idea where he got this crazy idea from?! ) Needless to say, I assured him that I would play it absolutely cool, and let him lead the way.
I told him everything I needed to tell him while we were still alone in the car, so that when the time came to say goodbye, after he was all unpacked and bunk set up, I looked to him respectfully for how he wanted it to go.
He motioned me into an empty hallway, where he threw his arms around my waist, squeezing me tight, and I quickly planted a kiss on the top of his precious head. Then he pulled away, grinning in that gorgeous, sunny way he does, and said quietly: “Thank you. I love you! I gotta go!” He turned on his heel, generously tossed one more smile behind him in my direction, and zoomed off to catch up with the tour of the grounds.
A few minutes later I snuck back in to his cabin, without anyone seeing me, and tucked a little mama love-note deep into his sleeping bag! Then I got in my car and made the long drive home, over the mountains and valleys of Northern California, without his body close.
As I drove I reminisced about the day Ezra was born into our world, after only 3 hours of mostly exhilarating labor. That unforgettable way I could feel him powerfully propelling himself down and out, with confident strength and focus, masterful even in his own birthing, towards the light of his own distinct life, his beckoning breath, his beauty. Just like now.
So many thresholds we cross with our children; so many chances to graciously get out of the way of their becoming, so many ways to courageously let go a little more, to bless them with our release of them. I love you so, my beloved boy.
Be safe. Be kind. Be true to yourself.