Monday, June 29, 2009

Be Good Be Smart Be Safe Behave

And they're off!
My kids, that is. Well, two of them, anyway.
Flash is spending the summer working as a counselor at an MO bungalow colony in upstate NY, and Wonderwoman is spending three weeks at a girls camp in Pennsylvania.
The past week was crazy, full of shopping, labeling, packing, and... talking.
This is the first time that either child has been away from home for so long, and so I gave them all the standard Mommy lectures. Behave yourself. Follow the rules. Keep yourself and your surroundings clean. Watch your mouth and treat others with respect. Don't forget to write.
That pretty much covered it for Wonderwoman. She's in a safe, highly supervised, religious environment. But Flash, who's 15, will be living in "the counselor's bungalow", along with a bunch of other dopey teenagers and a much lower level of supervision. He'll be around kids who are older than him, kids who may have different value systems, and- the dreaded G word- girls. Lots more opportunity to get into trouble there.
Now, I trust Flash a lot. If I didn't, I wouldn't have let him go. He's a smart, respectful, responsible kid who's pretty good at telling right from wrong and sticking to his guns when he needs to. And there are rules for the counselors- no girls in the boy's bungalow and vice versa, a reasonable curfew, no leaving the colony without permission, and a zero tolerance policy for drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. AND my good friend is at the colony with her family, and she has promised to keep an eye on him as well.
But still. As much as I trust Flash, he's still a teenage boy, and even the brightest teenage boy can be a real doofus sometimes. So he was the lucky recipient of even more Mommy lectures, about drinking and smoking and girls and peer pressure and making smart decisions and staying out of trouble. And he listened to it all so patiently.
And then it was time for him to leave. As I gave him an enormous hug, he whispered in my ear, "Any last words of wisdom, Ma?" For a moment, words failed me. And then I whispered back, "Be good. Be smart. Be safe. Behave." He kissed me and walked out the door. At the last minute, I realized that I forgot to say "Be happy." But it's OK. He knows that, too.


Leora said...

Oh, I am going to cry! Now I miss Flash, too.

We were just talking about fears for our teenage boys. At least my boys know that alcohol and smoking are nasty, nasty, nasty (except for kiddush wine, of course). Genetically, my family members don't have those hormones for attraction kick off as early as some other teenage kids ... but when my daughter is a teenager, I am going to be in an absolute panic.

Anonymous said...

We're all going to miss Flash along with you.

Their making responsible choices in a different environment is more or less what growing up is about but I understand your concern.

I think you should try and relax (as much as you can) knowing that a friend of yours is around.

Anonymous said...

Oldest daughter went to Sternberg to be a waitress today. It's wonderful not to be involved in the packing.

Maybe I'm too uninvolved. My daughter informed me she needed to be in Monsey at 10:30 (no bus from Passaic, maybe because staff goes a day early?) I informed her that I planned to go to work today, so that getting her to Monsey was unlikely. Suggested that she call a friend in Teaneck and see if she could go with her (I would drop her off there early, around 8:30).

A little problem reaching the friend because she wasn't live on Facebook -- I literally had to show the girl how to go on Yahoo, get a phone number, and pick up the phone -- but friend and friend's mom said sure, no problem.

We pull up in front of friend's house and unpack huge duffel bags. Friend says, "Uh, you do know there's a rule that your skirt has to meet your socks, don't you?" Daughter is dressed in full Sternberg camper regalia, shortish skirt and short socks. Daughter has failed to realize that there is a staff dress code that is stricter than camper code.

"Oh well!" she says cheerfully. "I have a few pairs of knee socks and tights, and I guess this will have to be all right for today!"

I'm told they don't sell knee socks in the canteen.If I know Daughter, she'll wear the two pairs of knee socks and 2 pairs of tights every day, and wash them? Unlikely.

G6 said...

When my mother in law was a little girl growing up in a rabbinical household in Germany, her mother would frequently say to all of her children "Mach Mir Ehre" which translates loosely to be "Make Me Proud".
It was such a well known phrase in the home that the rebbetzin had a small lapel pin made for each of her 8 children with the letters "MME". They wore these pins on the inside of their clothing so that they were always mindful of how to behave.

Lion of Zion said...

"Don't forget to write."

campers still write letters in this day and age?

Baila said...

Always a pang when they leave. They somehow come back different, especially at that age. But he'll still be that kid you trust. He'll be fine. Enjoy your summer.

(Yey! No homework!)

Anonymous said...

LoZ, they write letters! Camp (at least Orthodox style) is so retro.

Elliot said...

Trust your kids to make the right decisions. They will sometimes fail, but your trust in them will help to increase their self esteem and their confidence. They will be better prepared for the sometimes hard choices that life throws us.

Enjoy, the quiet and solitude. After 20 years, we will have a VERY noisy house. I figure I've got another 8 years or so before I can get them all out of the house for any length of time!

Mrs. S. said...

Here in Israel, most kids don't go to sleepaway camp. Instead, they go to their youth group's "machaneh", where they sleep outside (usually without a tent) for 2-7 days (depending on their age) and have a great time basically wallowing in the mud.

Better them than me...

SuperRaizy said...

Leora and Ilanadavita-
You're going to miss Flash, too? Thank you, that's sweet.
Sounds like your daughter has a cheerful, easy going attitude. That will serve her well.
Oh, I just love that story!
Flash can call me, but my daughter's camp does not allow cellphones, so she has to write.
The "no homework" part is massively wonderful.
I agree. I do trust them, and they don't usually let me down.
Mrs. S.-
Doesn't matter what they do, as long as they LEAVE THE HOUSE in the morning.

Batya said...

Enjoy! You're practicing for their real grown-up life. I have a totally empty nest. This week (I ought to blog about it) my baby officially moved into the 2nd bedroom of trekker's apt in Nachlaot, instead of the "extra bed."

That means that I'll see even less of him...

CJ Srullowitz said...

It's a tough thing to send off kids. But it is, lulei demistafina, liberating. Not that I would know...

Jewish Side of Babysitter said...

There's one camp I can think of that's in Pennsylvania. Raninu?

I went there, and I remember we were able to get e-mails and they would print it out for us and give it to us by lunch time, I always looked forward to it.