As I pack little lunch pouches and double check backpack contents, I'm trying to face my trepidation about tomorrow.
Tomorrow may just be any Monday for most people, but it's a big day for me. Tomorrow, I'm sending my boy to summer camp. It's just four days, and it's just six hours a day. But it's the first time he'll be in the care of grown ups who haven't known him since birth. The first time he'll be surrounded by many other children without a biological relative nearby.
And I'm dead nervous. I'm nervous about how he'll do, I'm nervous about how I'll do. What if he doesn't want me to leave? Worse yet, what if I don't want to leave? What if he doesn't eat any of his lunch and he has a melt down in the afternoon? What if he forgets the impulse control he has been learning? What if he eats paint, or paper, or clay? What if he forgets to go to the toilet when he needs to pee? What if he gets scared and I'm more than thirty minutes away?
He's nervous too, he's told me so. He's never been in a situation with unfamiliar grown ups, so we went to meet his teacher and a few of his potential camp mates yesterday. He doesn't quite understand what will happen, because I've never dropped him off in the care of people he doesn't really know. He's never been to camp, or day care, or really anywhere unfamiliar without a familiar face.
I keep getting bogged down in the what-ifs, but the truth is this: some of those scary things might happen. But - what if he has a great time? What if he learns and grows and thrives and makes friends? Because those things WILL happen. Because just like every single experience of his life, this will change him.
I have to remind myself, he's not the first "different" child these teachers have seen. He's not the only kid with sensory needs. He's not the first "first timer," and he's not incapable of looking after himself.
So I pack his bag, I do my best to prepare him, and I do my best to prepare myself. My little boy is taking a big step tomorrow, and I won't stand in his way.