I had it all perfectly scheduled.
Which is how I should have known, of course.
The summer? Has already come undone.
The plan was simple. Flea would finish school and spend 2 weeks with her Dad. Then she’d head off on a PGL adventure for four days with her friend, during which time I would book myself into Champneys for a few days of not talking to anyone and eating alone while reading a book. Sounds sad, I know, but honestly – two whole days of speaking to NOBODY is basically my dream these days.
After our respective solo breaks, Flea and I are heading off on a long weekend break, before jetting off for a month-long road trip for the rest of the summer.
See? It was an excellent plan.
Except the plan unravelled spectacularly less than 12 hours after dropping Flea at summer camp, when I got a call from the camp to tell me that my daughter was homesick – had literally been sick through distress – and they’d been unable to reach me all day because my phone was off (on account of my not wanting to talk to anyone). Apparently, Flea told the camp organiser, “I don’t want to do all this stuff. I just want to be with my Mum.”
Not such a brilliant plan, then.
I had a chat with Flea on Monday evening, and again today (she’s still struggling). She likes the place, she likes the food, she’s enjoying the activities, but she’s sad. She doesn’t want to come home, because she knows that will mean her friend would have to come home, too.
I’m a bit at a loss, if I’m honest.
Flea’s been on countless trips without me – holidays with her Dad, camping with Beavers and Cubs, bushcraft camp with school, the ski trip to Switzerland, countless sleepovers with friends. She’s been on PGL trips before. And this is the first time we’ve ever encountered homesickness. If you’d asked me a week ago, I’d have told you Flea is the kid least likely to EVER feel homesick. It’s positively insulting how glad she is to be shot of me, in the ordinary course of affairs.
And yet, here we are. Flea is homesick.
I tend to think with kids who are homesick, a bit of tough love is usually the most sensible approach. Just as I would with a kid on Beaver camp, I’ve told Flea to buck up, that there’s no reason to be sad, she’d be bored rigid watching me work at home, and that if she throws herself into things that she’ll soon forget about feeling sad. That it’s natural to miss home, but that’s no reason to miss out on a great experience, and I’m proud of how hard she’s trying to get into the spirit of things. And that ultimately, if she can’t make it work, then of course someone will bring her home, and not think any less of her.
It sucks, though. And I don’t feel like bucking up, personally.
What makes it bearable (and stops me jumping in the car now and going to rescue my poor baby) is that the team at the camp have been thoroughly lovely about the whole business. They’re supportive and reassuring and I know with absolute confidence that they will be handling Flea with patience and kindness and just the right amount of jollying along. I am sure that she’ll get through the week because of their support (and because she’s stubborn as a mule, like her mother, and hates to give up on anything) but I suspect it might be me that needs a few extra hugs by the end of the week.