Big Kid Steps

Astrid and I are staying at a cabin. Our room has two twin beds and the first night that we went to bed, I tucked her in and turned off the lights and then I got into my own bed that was about three feet away. This little voice then came out of the darkness “Mommy you are so far away. Please come sleep with me.”


I was three feet away I now remind you.


I am not a co-sleeper. Once they were six months old and I put them in their cribs, my kids haven’t come into bed with us when they are sick or scared. We put them to bed at about seven or eight – in their own beds and rooms – and we don’t hear from them until morning. Ever.


But I know that the cabin is new, the noises are different, and the bed is a little strange. So I walked over and squeezed myself into the twin bed and wrapped Astrid into my arms and she fell asleep immediately likely comforted by my warmth but mainly just knowing that I was close. Very close. And that’s okay.


My big girls are at sleep-away camp this week. A whole week.

I admit, and don’t call me a bad mom for this, but when I go on a business trip, I don’t miss my kids a whole bunch nor do I feel the need to call home daily(I usually don’t call the whole time I’m gone). It’s not because I don’t love them or have a need to be with them, rather it’s because I know they are safe and comfortable in a daily routine. I know at 6:30 they are getting up, heading off to school at 8:00, eating lunch at 11:30, they have art at 2:00, then come home from school at 3:22, and if it’s a Tuesday they go to dance until 7:00, and dinner is take-out from D’amico’s. I don’t need to talk to them about their days, because I know their days and at any point during the day I can almost picture exactly what they are doing.


It’s the beautiful monotony of being home.


And they are safe.


But this week I am missing them more than I can express and it’s caught me off guard in a very uncomfortable parenting way and I frankly am not happy about it. I think of them constantly but yet I cannot see them in my thoughts because I don’t know what they are doing. I don’t know what their cabins look like, what time they eat breakfast, are they learning to sail or did they choose a drama class, do they love horseback riding, is the lake water cold, are they making friends and I wonder what time lights-out is and are they okay. Are they okay?


There’s no phone or email or text to reassure me. Just silence.

And it’s more unnerving than I imagined it would be, even though I know they are just fine.


I guess what it is, is that this is the first time they are doing something completely on their own – their food choices, clothing choices, activity choices, friends choices, everything choices – it’s all up to them. I have nothing to do with their days and it’s left me feeling helpless, not needed, and in the dark.


Just like it should. Just like it’s suppose to.


I guess this is the first step to letting go. To letting them make their own lives. Too soon it will them spending more time with friends and then when I blink twice they will be away to college.


So I realize that a week away now, at 8 and 10 years old, should really not be a big deal for me.


Even thought it’s probably a big deal for them.


Their first real steps walking into their own independent lives without me. Their own memories made, friends forevers, and experiences that I cannot share.


And as a mother, this makes me love them even more.


But damn I miss them.

About Tracy

My name is Tracy Morrison and I live in sunny Minnesota. I'm neither British nor a nun - I'm just a Midwesterner with a headache. This is mainly a humor and lifestyle blog that documents the lighter side of parenting. I am an ex-corporate ladder climber turned freelance writer, social media manager, and fashion expert - and ruler of my own little universe(very small). Aren't we all. I would love for you to contact me at

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  1. says

    I’m the same – the couple of times I was away from either one of the kids, I didn’t miss them much. I knew they were safe.

    But I get what you mean – when they’re off doing their own thing. And you’re not involved in what they’re doing. I’m trying to imagine it for my kids. And um, yeah. Heart palpitations.

    Wherever you are, have fun sweetie!
    Alison recently posted..The Easy Way Out

  2. says

    I can totally relate to so much of this. When I’m away, I don’t call or miss them that much. But that might be because I am around them so much the other 360 days of the year. My kids aren’t yet to the stage of overnight camps, but I imagine that I will feel the same way when they are off on their own. I find comfort in knowing what they are doing. I get a little anxious when they are at playdates at other people’s houses even though I love the break.
    Christine Organ recently posted..Travel Footprints

  3. says

    I loved overnight camp. Such a deep love that I’d go back there right now if they’d take me. So I couldn’t wait for my daughter to go last summer for her first two week stint, at 8.5yo. And then it wrecked me. I work full time, so I thought I was fine with the separation, but it was the true lack of information that killed me. I spent the two weeks stalking the website for new pictures, and playing detective from the smallest of clues.

    She leaves to go there for a month on Wednesday. I’ve vowed to be better this year, since now I know more about what to expect, and what a great time she had last year. But I still expect to feel, as that old trope goes, like my heart is living outside of my body for a full month. Glad to see I’m not alone in this.
    Cheryl recently posted..More on "Lean In" – Questions of Age, Asking and Authority

  4. says

    Earlier this week, we were walking from the library. I let the girls go on ahead since the boy was moving slowly. Before I knew it, they were a good three blocks ahead and I could barely see them. It was frightening yet amazingly comfortable at the same time. They had each other. They weren’t fighting. They were together. They didn’t NEED me. It was saddening but remarkably reassuring. Why am I missing them when they’re just ahead of me? And why am I so glad that they are up there and not back here like they can’t walk without me?

    Your reunion will be special and I can’t wait to hear how the girls enjoyed it all.
    Arnebya recently posted..Old School Blogging

  5. says

    I don’t call a lot when I am gone either and Tim usually prefers that I do not because it “stirs them up”. ;) But I hear you loud and clear on the letting go. Thinking of sending B to camp next year and it sure seems like a big step to me!
    Elaine A. recently posted..Summer Scratching

  6. says

    I’m very much the same way too – don’t miss them too much when I’m gone because I know what they are doing and that they are safe. I cannot even imagine the day that our boys go off to sleep away camp (although Jasper has said that he will never ever leave this house until he’s 30). Even now, watching him make decisions by himself, I’m in awe and need to restrain myself from leaping forward and butting in. Your girls will have so much fun this week and you enjoy your time with Astrid.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Turning Cartwheels

  7. says

    It sounds like a big deal to me! Mary slept at the Linkous’ for just one night and we all went a little crazy missing her. I don’t like the whole letting go process. :(
    Michelle L. recently posted..Dear Stefan

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