Gabriel left this afternoon for a church youth camp at Cultus Lake. This being his first time to be away from home, he was very excited and anxious. “Is there gonna be a shower?” “Are there blankets?” “Are there bears there?” he kept asking.
Knowing that our church puts together wonderful programs for the youth, I encouraged Gabriel to go on this trip. It is also a good way for him to integrate with other church kids, and have some good worship and Bible study time.
Yesterday, we bought his toiletries from Pharmasave. When we got home, I left him to choose his tavel bag and sleeping bag, and pack his own clothes. I wanted him to feel all grown up about it. I felt I should step back and let him take responsibility. He even remembered he had to bring a Bible and a notebook. But now that he has left, I’m here wondering if he brought a pen, his pair of sandals, his toothbrush, enough clothes… Is he able to sleep? Is he warm enough?
I worked only half-day today because Gabriel wanted me to bring him to their meeting place myself. They were told to be at church by 3:30 pm.
“Mom, are you going to stay until we leave?” he asked more than once.
“Yes, I can stay, if you want. I’ll wait till your bus leaves,” I assured him.
As we pulled into the church’s parking lot, he was excited to see the other campers. We got off the car and I walked him towards the church’s lobby.
“Mom, you don’t have to stay,” Gabriel said with confidence.
“Well, OK. Do I get a kiss?” I asked. Gabriel stopped and I gave him a peck on the cheek. He walked on by himself, carrying, not rolling, his wheeled backpack and sleeping bag. He looked like a hiker.
“Have fun,” I called out. Delighted to see him greeted by new friends, I drove off.
This is like taking him to his first day in kindergarten, only I don’t get to peek through the window or the door. And I just have to trust that all will go well, that there will be no bus accidents, no broken bones, and no bears(!).