I Had An Epiphany As I Left My Son At Soccer Camp

He gave me a distracted smile and said “see ya”.

I stood in the open area between the college dorms as he walked away without another word, his soccer bag on his back. This wasn’t the first time we’ve dropped him off for soccer camp, and while he wanted me to help him make up his bed, the rest of the unpacking he did on his own, batting my hands away from his things, as one would expect from a fourteen-year-old itching for more independence.

I’m getting used to his growing requests for independence and his attempts to toe the line at some rules we’ve had to adjust or create for new situations and experiences. This year, too, he knew what to expect from the check-in process and the soccer camp overall, so he was much more relaxed and confident. I wasn’t expecting any stress before I left.

So I was surprised when his quick dismissal left me holding my breath as an epiphany struck that in four years time, I’d be doing this for real. In four short, rapidly passing years, I’d be unloading all his stuff in his own college dorm, and he’d be staying for the year.

Only. Four. Years.

That thought stopped me in my tracks as I looked at his departing form loping along with the crowd of boys.

Four years is the blink of an eye these days.  He is my firstborn – who towers over me by more than six inches these days. It seems just yesterday that we were teaching him to ride a bike and tie his shoes. Everyone told me “enjoy every minute, it goes by too fast” but no one tells you that many of those minutes you are so filled with frustration or helplessness or  annoyance that you forget those minutes are part of the memories, too.

As I walked back to the car, I had another light bulb moment as I realized that this is also the kid who can’t open the lid of any jar on his own, and who still gets frustrated when he breaks the egg yolks in his attempts to fry them, all accompanied with an exasperated “oh my GOD”.

This epiphany let me exhale just a bit, as there is still a lot that he needs me to teach him before he goes out into the world. After all, this also was the kid who thought that “toiletries” on the packing list meant things like toilet paper.

And when he does venture off to college, he will still likely have left his toothbrush behind on his bathroom counter, despite the packing lists I leave him.

Strangely enough, that last thought left me feeling just a tiny bit better.



  1. Gmom Phyl says

    Dear Jenna,

    I love this! Very well said. However he will not allow you to teach him everything else he needs to know. He will have to learn by making his own mistakes. Tee Hee

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