My Facebook friends are probably all sick of me already. As one friend put it, "it's so cute that you posted 600 photos of Maya leaving for camp." While that was overstated I can see where it would feel like 600 photos over a minor event.
A blip actually, not even an event.
It's been a long week. Well, in reality 4 days.
As the mom of a special needs child, I celebrate that she is able to participate in such an event, that she can spend a few days away from us without it being the end of the world (for her). Many children in her school are actually at school this week because going to school camp is too tough for them, it's more a burden than a fun adventure, it's not a chance to spread their wings like it is for Maya, but it is more a surety that they will clip their own wings.
I am so very grateful that Maya is one of the kids that can do it.
Even though there is a little fear on her side, and a whole-lot-of-me-turning-into-a-whiny-woman-hailing-from-Anatevka on my side, I am so very glad that Maya has this opportunity to shine, to take some distance from her home and experience some little slice of the world without our watchful eye and guiding hand. And I am so very grateful that the school makes this opportunity for her possible.
How many times have I written so very in the last couple of minutes? Note to self: thesaurus.com
I miss her. I know it's good for her, but I just miss her, her being, her essence, that part of her that makes the atmosphere of our house different when she is around.
I miss Maya's laugh, that infectious, unforgettable giggle of hers that has a musical quality to it. I miss her tickling my face and hands when she is about to leave a room. I miss how she yells from the top of the steps when I walk in the door from work, "is daddy home?" I miss how she will look at me from across the room when she is about to do something for that silent half nod of approval. I miss how after she brushes her teeth at night she will come and breathe all over me to prove she actually brushed them. I miss how Maya crawls into our bed silently in the morning after we wake her up, how she moves my arm from whatever position it's in to be around her and how she will throw her leg carelessly over mine and stroke my foot with her own. I miss her nightly declarations after dinner of how she "wants to be with her mommy."
And I wouldn't be completely honest if I didn't say that on some level it is nice in a small dose to have that freedom back, that freedom before you had kids, where if you felt like going out for coffee, you grabbed your bag, threw on some shoes and went, not even thinking about where you are going, whether it is okay for kids, whether she will have enough to do, whether you packed a coloring book and crayons and have the iPad fully charged or how you will gobble your food in 12 seconds flat in case she is restless so you can go for a walk outside with her?
Plus, it's fun to read or watch tv without interruption or constant chatter by a little girl with a good nature but who is largely oblivious to clues that now might not be the ideal time to talk about Thomas the Train, or about how the purple dress cannot be worn by her stuffed white mouse because he doesn't like purple.
Look, a lot of my friends, who had kids at a younger age than I am are dealing with their kids going off to college, of moving out of dealing with that empty nest. This is 4 days, I know it's not much to deal with.
But I can understand the teeniest bit about what people say when their kids move out - about how it's the quiet that is so hard to deal with.
I've gotten a teeny tiny nibble of that and I can imagine that in another decade or so if Maya can take care of herself and live on her own, that I will get the main course served to me.
And like the others who came before me and already really know what it's like, I'll know too.
I won't like it any better than they do.