July 11th, 2010

Separation Anxiety… theirs, too

by Terri Libenson

I recently wrote a story arc about Jill’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 isn’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 I’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 didn’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 – there was never a time when she wasn’t under the same roof as her sister.

Camp_inBed

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 Jess’s clinginess as Amy’s remoteness.

Camp_Melrose

Oh yeah, I also made up some stuff about camper crushes. I mean, let’s face it, we know what summer’s REALLY about.

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