Bygone blog — a letter to my son

14 Aug

My husband and I spent Saturday moving my son Sean to the Bronx, where he’ll soon begin a new teaching job. It took us more than six hours to get there, and the rest of the day to unpack the U-Haul before turning around to drive three more hours to crash at my sister’s house overnight.

So basically, it was a nonstop day which didn’t allow me much time to think about what the move will mean to all of our lives. You see, for the last month, Sean has been living with us, having had to vacate his Webster apartment at the end of June. His comings and goings, culinary eccentricities and unkempt room were reminiscent of his college days.

It was wonderful.

But now he’s gone, and since he’ll probably love his new job and living in the Big City, I expect it’ll be for good this time. As I sat on my porch in the much quieter, much emptier house, I was thinking about that, and remembered this blog I posted in June, 2011. I’ve reposted it once before, but it seems especially appropos today.

A letter to my son at camp

(originally posted June 20, 2011)

Lenore Skenazy had a funny column in Sunday morning’s newspaper. Maybe you saw it; she had come across a website which actually gave instructions to parents on how to write a letter to their child at camp. Now, I didn’t go so far as to try to find that website, but I suspect the advice is aimed at parents whose young children are at a sleep-away camp, perhaps for the first time.

My daughter showed me the column yesterday.  She suggested I follow the website’s instructions and send a letter to my son, who left for camp Friday morning.  I thought that was a terrific idea.

But since my son is 21 years old and will be spending his entire summer as a counselor at the YMCA’s Camp Gorham in the Adirondacks, mine reads a bit differently:

Dear Sean,

I hope you had a safe trip to camp on Friday morning. Actually, I know you did; your dad took you there personally since we won’t let you have your own car until you can pay collision costs yourself for a change.

I miss you already. I was just remarking on that as I gathered your laundry from the floor in your room and rediscovered the color of your carpet.  I will miss all the charming peculiarities that make you unique and that bring us such joy at home.

Like your superhuman ability to eat an entire box of cereal in just two bowlfuls. And an entire 29-ounce can of peaches in one sitting.

I will miss seeing what new musical instrument you have decided to befriend this week. I will miss the way you can see music in everything. Like when you “conduct” the directional signal in my car as it makes its steady blinky noise, and how you can turn any surface in the house into an impromptu drum when we least expect it. I will miss having to high-step through my office so as to not step on a cymbal or flute or tambourine.

I will miss hearing the “SLAM!  THUNK!” when you come in from teaching in the evening, slamming the door behind you and dropping everything you carry within a one-foot radius. I will miss having to kick you out of the lounge chair because Dad and I want to use the TV ourselves for a change.  I will miss worrying if you’ll be up in time for your appointments because you stayed up all night playing video games.

Yes, I will miss all of these things, because as aggravating as they all are, they all mean you’re home and you’re safe. And that’s all a mom needs to know.

So have fun at camp this summer, Sean. I’ll miss you. But I’ll try to remember that I get you nine months of the year, so it’s only fair those kids at Camp Gorham get you the other three months.

They have no idea how lucky they are.

Love, Mom

I could have written pretty much this same letter today, with just a few changes towards the end:

So have a great life in the Bronx, Sean. I’ll miss you. But I’ll try to remember that you will come back to visit sometimes on long weekends and holiday vacations (emphasis on “WILL“), and it’s only fair that those kids at Horace Mann School will get you the rest of the time.

They have no idea how lucky they are.

* * *

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(posted 8/14/2022)

8 Responses to “Bygone blog — a letter to my son”

  1. Jim Lockwood August 14, 2022 at 8:06 pm #

    You are the best mom, and Sean is a wonderful and talented young man..Definitely a reflection of his parents.. hugs to his mom…

  2. Melissa August 14, 2022 at 9:51 pm #

    what a wonderful tribute ❤️

  3. Jody Laurer August 15, 2022 at 2:51 pm #

    Please pass the Kleenex…😢. Motherhood ❣️

  4. Sharon Gentle August 17, 2022 at 1:05 pm #

    So beautifully said. Brings back memories of our two children’s time at home and their departures.

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