The pinnacle of my eldest daughter's summer - a week at sleep away camp - began yesterday. With double French braids in her hair, crocs on her feet, and butterflies in her tummy, she is off on an adventure. One that is wholly hers.
The planning can't yet fall to her. I happily organized: when to go, medical forms, covid tests, payment, packing lists, double-checking the list, laundry, packing and repacking, writing letters, sending them, finding the one knee-high unicorn sock that had to be found.
Due to Covid protocols, only one parent could actually participate in the drop off. My husband and I both drove her to camp. She chose dad to check her in, carry her bag to the cabin, take the photo with her counselor, make her bed. She chose dad.
She had about 30 seconds to make the decision. She put on her mask, kissed me, and was gone. My normed response, the one I felt I should have, was to be rejected and possibly resentful. She chose dad. He had not found the unicorn sock. Taking a deep breath I asked myself this one question - are these feelings actually true?
Do I actually feel rejected? Do I actually feel resentful?
It was a resounding - NO. I was okay. I sat in the car and waited. Dad came back, showed me the picture, explained the situation. She was off on her adventure.
I was able to take the SHOULD out of my feelings because I want to be TRUE about my feelings instead. I feel deeply proud of her. I feel jealous of her adventure. I feel relieved that I can spend one on one time with my younger daughter. I feel relaxed because when the girls fight, I get tight. Look at all these feelings I am having!!
Taking one breath and one minute to ask yourself: are my feelings actually true? If yes, then move forward with those feelings firmly by your side. If the answer is no, find the feelings you will travel forward with. Either way, ditch the "should" and see where your adventure takes you!