Dropping My Daughter Off at Camp Taught Me How to Let Go

My daughter’s Girl Guide leader grabbed me by the shoulders, looked me squarely in the eye and said: “Goodbye Mama.”

“But, but, but,” I sputtered, aghast.

“Go!” she said, her face somehow reflecting both a warm smile and a ‘Don’t mess with me’ look.

I was dropping my ten-year-old daughter off at her Girl Guide camp. Two nights away from home and her first time sleeping in a tent.

Every mother instinct in my body told me I couldn’t leave without seeing her tent, settling her in and making sure she was alright.

“Buh bye!” said her leader – turning me around and sending me on my way.

You just don’t cross a firm Girl Guide leader.

So I reluctantly gave my daughter a hug and kiss and trudged back to the car.

Girl Guide camp marked the end of a big week in our house. My oldest graduated from elementary school (Middle school is coming….noooooo!). I blubbered through her graduation ceremony, and now she’s heading off to fend for herself at Guide camp.

How did this happen? Wasn’t it just yesterday that I had to do pretty much everything for her? Feed her. Hold her head up. Wipe her bum. Pick her nose.

I recently arrived home to find that she made pizza for dinner. She’s helped me make pizza before but has never done it entirely on her own. I’m not sure why, but this hit me hard. Our child made a meal for us! She’s folding laundry, doing dishes and even walking our runaway beagle Daisy who is hard to handle on a leash.

It seems like every single day that passes, she is taking another step out of girlhood. I’m having a hard time letting go and allowing her to do things on her own. It was The Hubster who taught her what she needed to know and then gave her the space to make the pizza on her own and walk the dog.

“How did you do that?” I said, amazed. “How did you not worry about her burning herself on the oven or getting pulled down the sidewalk by the dog?”

“I don’t know,” he replied. “I just really didn’t want to make the pizza, and I’m getting tired of being the only one who walks the dog.”

Men, Mars. Women, Venus.

I know my job as a mother is to raise my daughters to be independent and happy adults and that means allowing them to make mistakes and learn some lessons on their own.

Knowing that didn’t stop me from hovering over my daughter as she packed for camp. I couldn’t stop myself from making packing suggestions and labelling her clothes and pointing out that the too-light PJs she chose would not be warm enough. My desire to see her learn from her mistakes was utterly trampled by the thought of her shivering all night in a tent.

It was hard for me to turn away, walk to the car and allow her to fly on her own for the next two days and nights.

But I did it. I guess my daughter isn’t the only one to hit a milestone this week.

All I needed was a little push from an adamant and wise Girl Guide leader.

Li’l Girl Talk

“I know what you are going to say – have good manners and be careful and all that stuff you always say, remember this and don’t forget that and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,” says The Oldest, age 10.


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