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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

One Time, at Band Camp

The summer is closing in on us! And kids are biting at the bit to get back to school! Well, some kids probably are. Not mine so much. My college-aged child seems to be having a notorious time in Iowa City, as indicated by her Snapchat stories. (I’m a stalking mom.) My high schooler also seems to having a good summer with his various expeditions. (Thank goodness for friends who do cool things and invite Cole to tag along. And a cousin who's convinced him that golfing is addicting. Otherwise his summer might’ve consisted of “How I Met Your Mother” marathons with his parents.)

Actually, the summer hasn’t been without a little constructive activity for our children. Alex has been working her tail off at a restaurant and discovering the freedom that comes with a little pocket change. Cole has been required by his mother to take an online Algebra class. And we made him go to soccer camp.


Now, as most of you know, Cole is very passionate about soccer. But he was less than excited about attending camp–at CREIGHTON no less! The university he dreams of attending, but probably won’t because it’s too pricey. On the day we were to take him to Omaha, our happy son turned atypically growly. I didn’t blame him for being anxious. You see, when I was young, my parents sent me to (wait for it) piano camp. Yes, I’ve been the butt of many family jokes about this.

It was the summer after my 7th grade year. My parents dropped my off at Coe College in Cedar Rapids–that city with the emanating rancid odor from the Quaker Oats factory. It didn’t add appeal.

After Mom and Dad left me with a roommate who was less than excited to be chumming up with a small-town girl from the other side of the state, my heart sunk and I felt lonelier than I had ever felt. I would’ve done anything to go home. But I also knew my parents had paid a fee that took a decent bite of their paychecks. I had to suck it up. And you know what? I learned some valuable life lessons, like:

·         Not everyone will be nice. But you’ll still be okay.
·         A lot of people are nice. It’s up to you to seek them out.
·         Only you can make or break an experience.
·         Getting out of your comfort zone will prepare you for more situations in life than you can possibly imagine.

Hey Dude. Where should we put the snacks?
I went to piano camp every year through high school. And I have no doubt that piano camp was training ground for my career in college and, well, my career. I told all of this and more to my son before we left that day. He was still cranky. Until, of course, we picked up his best friend and met four of his other buddies at the dorm. He practically pushed us out the door with glee. Sure, he had the benefit of being surrounded by his friends, as opposed to being stuck with a snooty bitch from Des Moines. (I'm not bitter.)

But still! He met people, learned to play with an unfamiliar team, take instructions from new coaches, and be responsible–getting to all of his sessions without his mother's help. He did it! And only locked the keys in his room once! No matter, he had received something better than soccer tips at camp.

I sensed a new confidence in Cole. (He’s a confident kid anyway. As a matter of fact, when I told him I missed him the other day, he responded, “I know! I would miss me too!”) But this was a different, more mature confidence. Perhaps he’s realizing that college isn’t so far away. And the future isn’t so scary after all.

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