One summer, a sweet little camper found his way into my heart. He was one of the littlest campers. He didn’t talk much. He did like to flex his muscles (literally) quite regularly and smile that awkward 4 year old smile. Truthfully, if it weren’t for what he said to me on his second to last day at camp, I don’t know that I would remember him so well.
It went something like this:
Me: Good morning!
Camper: You’re going to miss me when I move to China.
Me: (confused pause)… yeah, bud, I guess I will…
Camper: Yup! (runs off to play)
On his last day of camp I mentioned the conversation to his dad. His dad replied, “Oh yeah, we are moving this weekend.”
That was the last I saw of the little camper, and you know what? He was right. I miss him.
This summer, a preschooler was here for the summer. Guess where he went back to? China, you guessed? Close, Singapore. But still, this little student made me think of my little camper.
Some of my camp friends and I will tell each other, “You’re going to miss me when I move to China.” It is a silly way of telling each other that we miss the other person.
I may even be guilty of having said it once or twice to non-camp people when really what I should have said was, “I am going to miss you when you leave.” I then find myself having to explain my absurd declaration.
I don’t generally rock at expressing my emotions, especially those vulnerable and tender ones, like goodbyes, because sometimes goodbyes are difficult. Usually goodbyes are difficult. I think they are especially challenging when they are the kind of goodbyes we say at the end of summer camp, or really any short lived but deeply loved relationship. It is hard to say, “this was brief, but you ended up meaning so much to me, we might never see each other again, we might even forget about each other, but right now, in this moment, I don’t have to words to tell you how important you are, and I wish I could pause time for just a little bit, I am not sure I am ready to say good-bye.”
So instead I might say, “You’re going to miss me when I move to China.”