My beloved 13-year-old, the beautiful ElvenTiger, is going to summer camp in a couple of days. It's her first significant time away from family; she'll be gone for a week. She's going with her best friend, who she's known since she was three, and whose idea it was that they go together this time (her friend went last year and loved it).
Lots of thoughts and emotions are swirling around in my psyche. I remember how terribly homesick I was the first time I went away to summer camp...and how much I ended up loving it by the end of the session. I know that ElvenTiger is more poised and confident than I was at the same age, and that's reassuring.
I will miss my girl all week. I call her my "follow-cat," as she follows me around in that feline way: "No, of course I'm not following you, I'm just doing my own thing. So, what'cha doin'?" We do a lot of fun things together, and she's very helpful with the everyday tasks of life, like shopping and cooking and deciding what to do next. We enjoy a lot of the same things, like baking and swimming and crafts and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Quester went up north to see his parents for a few days (his Dad's health is not so good). When he left, he and ElvenTiger were saying goodbye, and noted that they wouldn't see each other for ten days, the longest they'd ever been apart. When she turned away, ElvenTiger was in tears. Quester was the kids' primary caregiver for many years. I wondered if her feelings were tied in with worries about going away, but when I asked, she said it was just that she'd miss her Dad.
She's growing up, and it's a joy to see her blossom. At the same time, I'm a Mom, so I worry. She'll be fine, though. She's a magickal, fae being, full of creativity and verve. She has her own life.
I will miss her, and she will miss home. We will both learn from it. And that's as it should be.