Getting published is a real be-yatch! Hear about my ups, downs and a few random rants in between.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Growing Pains

It's tough to push your baby bird out of the nest.

You've assured them that if they simply flap their wings they'll soar. Yet, as they topple uneasily, from your safety, headfirst toward the ground, you hold your breath muttering, "fly, fly dammit," and pray they don't go splat. Finally, they dip and head upwards rising to the treetops, chirping at their success.

You sigh, relieved, then crow, "See? Didn't mommy tell you it would be okay?" as if you had no doubts at all.

It's all about the growing pains - yours and theirs.

Yesterday, Princess A started summer camp.

Dread is the best word to describe how she felt about going to camp, this year. Actually the last few years. She hasn't looked forward to day camp since about third grade.

But hey, working parent here. What else is she going to do? Sit home and become an MTV Jams Zombie?

When the King and I dropped her off, her face was long. You would have thought it was a P.O.W. camp instead of a Teen Extreme camp that takes the kids on field trips every day. This week alone they're hitting an amusement park, going canoeing, to a swim club and lazer tag. Tough life!

She took a quick glance at the kids, gathered around the tables, and groaned. The only familiar face was some girl, for reasons only known to her, she hated.

And I'm not unsympathetic. She's in middle school and I understand. Middle school kids are all about cliques, their safety blanket. God forbid they attend any function without their friends. The attitude is - I have all the friends I need. I don't need or want to meet any new ones.

I assured her for the fafillionth time that she'd make friends. She always did. And, I reminded her, she always ended up enjoying camp, no matter how reluctant she felt at the start of the day.

Yet, as I drove away my stomach was as full of butterflies as hers. I fretted off and on, all day. I thought about calling her cell phone, mid-day, to see how things were going. But give me a cookie. Because I didn't!

When we drove to the Pavillion for pick-up, she was sitting around the table shooting the bo-bo with several other girls, smiling and laughing. And I didn't waste one minute with my, "Ha! Told you so," as she settled into the car.

June Cleaver, I ain't.

Secretly, I was very pleased. Not because I was right. But because, in the back of my head, I worried that this might be the year she ends up having a terrible camp experience. Ostracized by both kids and counselors, destined to spend the summer off in a corner swaddled in gemp (that colorful, plasticy stuff). Cursing myself for not being one of those moms who can be home with my kids.

I can still identify with the awkward teen in myself. I remember how painful ice-breaker moments are. Guess that's why I write YA.

I also know that, in the end, she'll be a much more well-rounded person thanks to being pushed out of her comfort zone each summer. None of her friends have ever attended camp with her. She's had to start from square one, each summer, and make new ones. They're summer friendships. None of her camp friends have gone on to become BFF's beyond August.

But that's beside the point.

I don't mind her cherishing her clique. But there's always life outside of it. And I love to see her fly on her own.

Now that I think on it, mom could take some of her own advice.

I have my own growing pains when it comes to my writing. My agent is the mother-figure. And let me tell you, she's a much more patient mom than I am.

Late afternoon calls with me worrying about some component of my writing career or another and long-winded emails as I ponder my options, are all versions of me circling the nest afraid to jump.

And her advice is the nudge, necessary, to topple me out of the tree.

The difference between me and Jen vs. how I deal with my daughter?

I usually only have to nudge my daughter out of the nest once a summer and maybe one other time during the school year. Poor Jen has to nudge me out of the tree with ever new step I take toward publication.

Sorry, Jen!


Post a Comment

<< Home