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Jackson at camp


A few years ago, when Sam was visiting me for the week, I didn't have any plans for his visit. I, unfortunately, didn't take any time off from work either, and ended up plunking the kid down in front of the television for far more time than I was comfortable with, though Sam didn't really mind.

When we went back to Mom's place for the big drop-off, Sam declared to everyone, "And she let me watch TV ALL WEEK." I was so embarrassed as to be mortified, not only had I done this, but that Sam had told everyone. Eric turned to me and said, "Well, that sounds like a real world example of parenting to me."

Since then, I've learned to plan things out better with Sam's and Jackson's visits. I sent Sam to Camp Galileo last year at the Tech Museum. He seemed to have a good time, so I signed Jackson up for a similar camp this year. Jackson and I were originally going to head up to Canada and meet up with Jonathan and one of his boys, but I couldn't find enough weekday activities to keep him busy, so Jackson and I will be heading up to Vancouver this December or next January for some snowboarding adventure. I'm tickled that Chris is going to let me take him out of school for a week to go goof off on a mountain. How cool is that?

About as cool as summer camp!

I hadn't read the camp instructions properly, and didn't realize I'd need to pack lunch for Jackson (Sam's program last year had lunch included), so a morning scramble later, and Jackson had something that could pass as a lunch. Maybe.

Yeah, this parenting thing sometimes entails sacrifices, including those of being a perfect parent. He'd have enough food to last until I picked him up, my job was done.

Starting last night at the airport, I've been having Jackson navigate us. I had asked him to guide us to the gate (we took a few wrong turns before he figured out that gate C16 was in a different wing than gates C1 to C10, but he managed to navigate us to the gate with plenty of time to spare), and then to the baggage claim after we arrived.

This morning, I asked him which table we would check into this morning. I have no idea if he appreciates the "extra" work I have him do, but I'd rather he figure out how to get around and learn to be more observant than to have him lost and wandering.

He did just fine.

After checking in, Jackson wandered over to the introduction group, dropped off his lunch bucket (yeah, every other kid had a backpack, he had a small cooler, nothing like making a kid stand out on day one), and was told to join in one of the many games happening on the playground.

I asked if he was good, he said yes, and so I wandered off, letting him go do his own thing.

It was hard.

It was so hard.

He just sorta wandered around, watching the other kids play various games.

It was just heartbreaking to watch.

There are skills you learn as you grow up, and worries that you discard. The ability to go up to anyone and just start talking to them one of those skills you learn as you grow up if you aren't naturally charismatic. If you are, it's a skill that improves with use. It helps to discard the worries about what other people think about you, since most people have no opinion of you before they know you.

Eventually the camp started and everyone gathered, and Jackson merged into the crowd.

I wandered away, hoping his day would be a great one, thinking, this parenting thing is heart-wrenching. Not sure I'd ever get used to this feeling.

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