Two weeks ago we dropped Cole off at camp. And yes, he already sounds older and looks bigger and taller and different. The kind of different that comes from an intense new experience. The kind of different that means he belongs a bit more to the world, and a bit less to us.
Something else is different as well. We are. Because for the past two weeks, we haven’t been parenting him. Yes, we are talking to him. Yes, we are hearing about what is going well, what is challenging.
We are his parents, but we aren’t parenting.
It feels more like aunt-ing and uncle-ing. Because we get all of the connection, and none of the grind. We don’t need to track his transportation, his meals, his screen time, his laundry, his hygiene, his bedtime. None of it is our responsibility. So we aren’t asking. Not once have I said ‘did you do your laundry?’ Not once have I mentioned that a second shower for the day might be a, ahem, great idea. Not once have I check to see if he got to classes on time. Or if his dorm room was picked up.
For two whole weeks.
This is Nirvana.
Don’t get me wrong. I miss him. I do. And I am curious about all of those things. But I’m not asking because we are too far away. No matter the answers, there is nothing for me to do. So I’m aunting him.
Which means when we talk, it is about everything. And nothing. And there has been a lot more laughter. And a lot more love.
Being of the igeneration, Cole prefers Facetime to phone calls. And on this I agree. I get to see him grin at me more times in weeks than he has in the last few months. I get unprompted ‘I love you’s. I get kisses tossed my way.
Does he miss us? Yes. Do we miss him more? Most likely. But I don’t think that is the reason for the sudden increase in affection. I think we get more because we are grinding less.
love the love note? you can pin it!
Camp ends in a week. I’m going to spend the time between now and then basking in the laughter and plotting ways to keep it going once he comes back. Once we return to real life. Real life, with less grind. That’s the hope.
Have any suggestions? How do you Aunt or Uncle instead of Parent your child? Ideas? I’d love to hear them. Experiences? I’d love to know.