Monday we dropped our oldest four off at Science Camp. These are the pictures I got from then:
So, for anyone who is counting, that's exactly one picture with any of my Science Camp kids actually in it (the bottom picture: the two girls in hats are mine). Mostly this is because from before our van doors even opened, we were surrounded by eager campers who gave their Siren call to our children and whisked them away, pillows and sleeping bags and duffle bags and hats and all, to waiting cabins and friends.
They didn't even say, "Goodbye." And we couldn't even find them when we left, so we didn't say, "Goodbye," either.
Which is how it should be at summer camp.
This week is the highlight of my children's lives. Those who are old enough (10 and older) count down the days from the end of one camp to the start of another. And those who are not old enough cannot WAIT until they are.
It has been quiet here at home. It's strange to see the dynamics shift a bit when the Olders are not here...the 9yo and 8yo seem older and more capable, and the 6-year olds and 4yo and 3yo (yesterday! Zebby is 3!) content themselves with playing with one another and bringing the clingy 1yo to me. Again.
A friend stopped by with pizza yesterday and one of the children asked, "How many days until Science Camp is over?"
"Three," I said.
"You must miss your older brothers and sisters," said my friend.
"Not really!" was the overwhelming response. "It's nice and different without them here. And the house stays cleaner!"
This bit about the house is true, and I haven't quite figured out why. Certainly the laundry and meals are much easier...but that's simple to figure out. My four largest eaters and biggest laundry-wearers are missing.
I'm so glad for this week and what it does for all of my children. The Olders come back a little teary-eyed and full of stories and memories and addresses of friends and usually begin right away to continue researching this year's camp topics (Fungi are on the list this year...I am a little nervous).
The younger children enjoy their stint of being the "oldest" around the house and having more of my attention ("Hello, 3yo washing your chicken-poop covered Crocs in the bathroom sink, I see you..."). But by the end of the week, they are also ready to have the Bigs back and hear the mesmerizing tales of late nights at camp and what food Grandma (the camp chef) prepared and what nicknames everyone got this year. And, of course, last year there were the plant presses and learning all about wildflowers, and the year before that there were bugs galore to find and put in the freezer, and goodness only knows what fungus experiments there will be to undertake this year...