Between Singapore and resumption of school is Cub Camp.
Cub Camp is the be-all and end-all of all incentives during this long eight-week summer break for son. We kept going to the camp shop (there are two in our part of Harrow!) to buy various things. Even on the day of camp itself, after I'd done my turn at the school uniform shop, we had to go to the shop to buy a steel mug.
Son is a very "I'm very comfortable at home, thank you" kind of boy. He could stay indoors for days if you do not force him out for some fresh air. But camp -- living in a tent -- seemed to have taken his fancy. I think it's the prospect of another badge that mattered most to him.
Anyhow, finally packed and ready to go, we got to the camp site.
There was to be an 'opening ceremony' at 7.30pm. Son checked in, got the stuff he needed for his tent, disappeared into the tent for a long while, emerged, came to me to give me a kiss (very unexpectedly), sort of waved to Dad, and said, "You can go now."
Being thus summarily dismissed, we left. We weren't allowed to stay for the opening ceremony.
Well, you know, this is the first time EVER that son has slept away from me. Ever since he was born -- kind of prised out of my body -- he has always slept under the same roof as me. Dad had gone away for a day or two (hospital, errand to Nanny, etc), but son has ALWAYS been with me. Even when I went to Singapore to conduct some research, son was with me.
Who felt the separation more? Guess!
It was a rite of passage for all of us.
All through the time he was away we could not stop talking about him: he must be having his campfire now. Is he singing 'Ging gang gooli'? "Do you think he's asleep?".
Get used to it, we reminded ourselves.
Sunday morning, the rain was chucking down. "Do you think his tent is flooded?"
Sunday afternoon, we went to pick him up, in good time for the 'closing ceremony', we thought. At the carpark we noticed that cubs were already climbing into cars. They had brought forward the closing ceremony because of the rain. So we missed it.
Caught sight of son. All smiles. Rushed towards us waving a certificate: Best Camper it says.
A real surprise. All our fears about his not liking camp evaporated. He wants to do more. He even managed to pack everything back into his rucksack. Amazing!
So last week we bought him a new sleeping bag. Next 'Cool Camp' end of October coming up. What fun!