Experiencing our son’s first weekend away at a church retreat.
As a Christian family our son (who is turning 12 in May) goes to church on Wednesday nights to spend time with his friends and to grow his faith in Jesus. He attends with a couple friends and they all have such a good time together, sharing stories and rocking out with an awesome band, learning about his faith, and also about himself.
Recently a weekend retreat was coming up for kids in 6th thru 8th grades, it looked like a blast! A campground in northern Minnesota where they would be staying in cabins, having bonfires, doing a zip line and climbing wall. And the cherry on top this was all without their parents, need I say more.
After getting him all packed for a weekend in northern MN where it was still pretty cold. Making sure that his bag had everything he needed from snow boots to oreo cookies, just in case. Three buses, each pulling a huge trailer left our church campus on a Friday after school and returned Sunday around dinner. We were so excited for him and maybe a little nervous since this was his first time away from home (3 hours up north) for the entire weekend without his family. The good news is with today’s world of endless technology, we were just a text/call away. Side note: after making sure he had everything, he wore nothing but the clothes on his back the day he left. He didn’t touch a thing in his bag but the cookies. Lesson learned.
Over the next 24 hours my husband and I would say to each other, “well I wonder how it’s going?” and “have you heard from him yet?” Quickly reminding each other that he was having a blast and the last thing on his mind was mom and dad. Until Saturday night, we had just started a movie and when the text came in, “Hi mom!” I have to admit, the mother and son bond is solid and true. We have gotten so close this year and I love it, I’ll take whatever I can get. So I calmly replied, “Hi, how is it going?” to which he replied, “I’m feeling homesick and ready to come home!” along with rows of sad emoji’s (cue the heart strings being pulled.) I looked over at my husband and told him that our son was feeling homesick. For a split second without saying it we both knew what that felt like. We’ve all been there, that feeling of just wanting to be home. Where it was warm, cozy, comfort and for kids, snacks around the clock. Last but not least us, his mom, dad, and sister. We can’t forget Max either our stellar family cat. So we replied with a complete boost of confidence and assurance that he was going to be just fine and that he was coming home the next day. My husband gave me the, “Do not say anything that will make him upset, just keep your cool!” It was a good thing too since I was already texting him that we loved him and missed him blah blah blah. So delete, delete, delete all of that mushy stuff. Be positive, confident and send him on his way… ugh. So hard. But everything turned out fine.
“I’m feeling homesick and ready to come home!”
When he stepped off the bus late Sunday afternoon we could see the relief and utter exhaustion on his face. Without saying a word, he gave us each a long-lasting hug. All happy to be together. He made it through the weekend and we couldn’t have been prouder. It was an experience he will never forget and neither will we.
We all were relieved it was a positive experience since he will soon be going with his 6th-grade class on another camping weekend adventure. Only this time, in tents…
I’ll let you know how that goes!