We took Charlie to his first sleep-away camp yesterday.
We arrived toward the tail end of check-in, thanks in part to some shoddy navigation by someone who should have been paying attention to the Google map instead of playing 13 games of Words with Friends on the phone. By the time we checked in and walked up (and up and up) to his cabin, his group was gathered out front, ready to go to the pool. While he changed into his swimsuit, Mike and I made his bed and tucked his suitcase away.
Charlie seemed a little nervous, but mostly ready to go make some new friends. I gave him a quick kiss and hug and off he went. There wasn't a lot of time for long goodbyes and really, I was excited for him to have the opportunity.
By bedtime last night, though, I was starting to miss him. It's not like Charlie's never slept away from home before. In fact, he spent Friday night at a slumber party. I'm not sure "missing him" is the right phrase. I just wondered whether he was warm or cool enough in the cabin, if he'd liked what they served for dinner, how he was getting along with the other boys in his group. I said a quick prayer for his safety and his experience and went to bed.
This morning, "missing him" certainly fit the bill. Did he sleep ok? Did his pillow fall off the end of the bunk bed? Did the nurse remember to give him his allergy medicine? Had he lost anything yet? (I'm pretty sure he won't come home with everything we packed.)
As I walked from the parking lot to my office building, I was thinking that this will be the longest period of time in Charlie's whole life that I've gone without talking to him. Again, I said a prayer for him and walked into the building.
When I got to my desk, the red voicemail message light was lit up. As I waited for the laptop to warm up, I punched in my voicemail access code to listen to the message. It was Charlie! He'd left the message for me after I'd left the office on Friday, so the question he was asking was no longer relevant. But the sound of his voice was just what I needed to hear.
I smiled as I listened to it and thanked God for this small reminder of his faithfulness and for that kid at sleep-away camp.