This summer is not exactly what I'd wanted. Perhaps I sensed this seachange coming and wanted to spend more time with my boy before he pushed off and left me standing on the dock waving goodbye as his ship headed for the horizon.
I'd hoped to spend more time working at home, taking him swimming or biking or just walking and talking. It was not to be. Between medical issues and work issues, I wound up enrolling him in summer camp for much of the summer. This particular camp is run by our local natural history museum and each week has a different theme with field trips twice a week. They are outside most of the time getting plenty of exercise and bug bites (he still forgets to apply the insect repellant - at least he's good about the sunscreen).
The first week was focused on manatees, cumulating in the group writing a letter to the governor about making sure they stay protected.
Then he had a week off.
During that week, Darling Man and I traded dayparts to stay with him, and a couple of days wound up taking him to work with us as well. One day at work, my friend T also brought her son, Josh. I invited him to come to my office, where he and ZBoy hit it off and spent the afternoon drawing on defunct tractor-feed paper and doing boy-style origami. Then I took both boys home and let them swim until Josh's mom came to get him. A new best friend had been born.
As it turned out, they also had the same camps for the rest of the summer! Their first week of camp together sealed the deal - best buds forever.
And then came the second week of camp.
Bright and early Monday morning, I walked into the museum grounds with ZBoy and headed over to the counselor to sign him in. Josh had gotten there ahead of us and he and ZBoy spotted each other. They ran to each other, flung skinny little arms around shoulders, went to the backpack pile to drop off Z's bag and disappeared into the throng of children crawling all over the playground equipment.
I stood there next to the counselor, pen in hand. No hugs, no kisses, not even a "Bye, Mom - I love you!" He just disappeared.
I handed the pen back and walked away. It was my first time.
I returned later that day to pick up my son. I was a little early and spent some of that time waiting for his reappearance visiting with the turtles.
Finally, I heard the thump of many smallish feet on the boardwalks and looked up.
It was pirate camp! They'd made their own bandanas and treasure chests.
"Where's Josh?" I asked. Sometimes his mom or dad pick him up a little early.
"Oh, he's already on the playground. Can we stay a few minutes?"
Moments later, we found him. Best friends reunited:
They then insisted on showing me how they swing cow-style (huh?).
I like Josh. I like his family. I think we could all be friends.
But that stepping-away-from-mom thing? That kind of hurts.