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LENS ON LEADING: NOTES FROM ANTONY

Ellie’s First Camp

We made a promise to Ellie and her best friend that they could go to camp together—in Memphis. Then we moved to Boston last year and reneged. This was the summer to pay up.

This was a big deal. We all looked forward to a trip back to Memphis to see friends we left behind, but Ellie was in the details. She planned meticulously—and outsourced the execution of the plans to her mother.

The two friends planned what they would wear every day, matching tee shirts and shorts, and we had to make sure we had just the right items. We also had to agree to let Ellie tint her hair just the right shade to match her friend’s effort. We drove from Boston to Memphis with two kids and two dogs just in time to deposit Ellie at camp and pull away.

Did I mention this was her first overnight camp? I’ve traveled occasionally, of course, but I’m used to being the one who leaves. I can imagine my daughter snug in her bed at home while I’m gone. This time I had to leave her there on her own at camp, miss her terribly all week, and come back for her at the designated time.

How was it possible she was more grown up? But she was. A few days had changed her, giving my confident girl even more confidence. It was emotional for me. The separation made one of us stronger, and it wasn’t me! But it was a chosen, intentional separation, the sort that confirms your child is doing well and is ready for the world.

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