Friday, March 31, 2006

ready for camp?

my friend and sister, a veteran in sending her three children to numerous summer camps inspires me to write about my own summer camp thoughts...
unlike her, it will be my first time to send my unica hija arianna out to summer camp on her own next week. i heard a lot about this particular summer camp and wanted her to join last year. she was nine then and refused to join. my husband and i even thought of serving in the camp just to encourage her to go. we wanted her to join but did not really want to force her to. when we told her we will serve if she joins, she was literally in tears, torn between not wanting to go and not wanting to disappoint us. so of course that was the end of our discussion last year and we had no choice but to wait a year and just hope that she would finally join the following year.
the following year has come. this time when i asked her about it, she just asked me when and simply said yes, no ifs or buts. it seems after a year, she is really ready to join. it is but a week to go before we send her off away on the bus and for three nights and four days to a new place with new people. i waited for a year for her to be ready. but now that she is, i don't think i am that ready. i know it will be fun. i know it will be a great learning experience for her. but i feel i was more ready last year. and maybe it's just because it is going to happen now for the first time, for sure, and soon.
i feel like i want to start packing her things for her because i want to make sure she has everything she needs and even more, for the just in case this, just in case that. it is as though doing so will lessen my anxiety thinking i will be preparing her well for camp. but i know i should stop myself from doing that. i have to trust that she can take care of herself and will be alright before, during, and after camp.
i have to be ready just as much as she is, for her camp.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

fragile youth

lest we forget . . .
All parents damage their children.
It cannot be helped.
Youth, like pristine glass,
absorbs the prints of their handlers.
Some parents smudge, others crack.
A few shatter childhoods completely
into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.

-The Five People You Meet in Heaven
by Mitch Albom

Friday, March 24, 2006

big school for the big boy

today was the big day. my son roque, 4, was going to be assessed whether or not he will be accepted into his big sister's big school. mom was of course anxious. and who wouldn't be? a few days before, i was told by the school admissions officer that they had very limited slots for his level, as in one or two slots left! oh my.

i primed roque about the assessment the night before the big day.
me: we will go to ate's school tomorrow and meet one of her teachers.
roque: yipee! can i go to the playground?
me: surely, after you meet the teacher, ok?
roque: why?
me: because the teacher will show you the classroom and toys there before going to the playground, ok?
roque: ok-- whatever.

that morning, i made sure he had his favorite hawaiian polo shirt on, with his "big" pants ("i don't like short pants, mom!"), and his basketball shoes which he loved. packed some snacks, a thermos of calamansi juice which he liked and extra clothes in his backpack, as if he was just going to his old nursery school.

roque was welcomed by the school admissions officer with a handshake, and "what's your name?" to that, he immediately answered in his usual low monotone, "i'm roque." as he extended his left hand and then his right to shake hands, he mumbles "it's supposed to be the right." just then teacher miguel, who will do the assessment, was introduced to him. to my relief, roque agreed to go with him without me. whew!! the twenty minutes or so which followed as i waited for the assessment to end seemed so much longer. when they finally returned, roque had a big smile on his face. i asked, "did you have fun?" and he says, "yes, i wrote on the chalkboard!" teacher miguel said he was quite pleased with roque, who was excitable and cheerful. he made him do various tasks which roque willingly did. however, he noticed that roque easily got frustrated with a buttoning activity which he found difficult to do. he was quite impressed though to find out that roque already knew how to read and spell a lot of words. and when he wanted to check if roque also knew his numbers, he told him to write the number 10 on the chalkboard. to that, roque scribbled "T E N" and "10" under the word... end of assessment.

before we left the big school that morning, the admissions officer handed me the acceptance letter.

i was ecstatic of course.
me: so it was fun, huh?
roque: yes!
me: so you want teacher miguel to be your teacher next year?
roque: maybe.

Friday, March 10, 2006

leaving soon

i see his
scattered clothes
emptied shoe racks
papers and documents
bubble-wrapped artworks
boxes and boxes

i see him
pack his stuff
tie up loose ends
bid friends goodbye
visit superlolo
hug my kids tight

i feel his

i pray for his
peace of mind
fullness of heart and soul