July 11th, 2010
by Terri Libenson
I recently wrote a story arc about Jillâ€™s older daughter, Amy, going off to sleepaway camp for the first time. Yes, this is based on factual events (hey, at this point, what isnâ€™t?). My older daughter is heading out this week for a month-long stay at a renowned camp in Indiana. For. The. Very. First. Time.
Obviously, I wrote the series well before my daughter actually leaves (a.k.a. I made stuff up). But we did have prior emotional experience. Last summer, my daughter visited her aunt in CA for a month. I really thought Iâ€™d be fine with the separation. But when we said our goodbyes at the airport gate, I saw a flash of tears in her eyes (mind you, she never shows her soft side if she can help it). That was it for me. I didnâ€™t stop crying for two days.
Luckily, her trip worked out well and the rest of us made it through the wait intact. But the one adverse side effect I was NOT prepared for was the ensuing neediness of my younger daughter. At first, she clung to me like static cling. It made sense â€“ there was never a time when she wasnâ€™t under the same roof as her sister.
Thank goodness she eventually worked through her separation issues. Still, WHOA. That first week was tough. Talk about regression. In hindsight, I thought that made for some interesting material. The camp series turned out to be equally about Jessâ€™s clinginess as Amyâ€™s remoteness.
Oh yeah, I also made up some stuff about camper crushes. I mean, letâ€™s face it, we know what summerâ€™s REALLY about.
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