Monday, August 9, 2010

Mountain of the Dumped Son

Caleb at the Mohawk tipi with Chief Dave

Located on an island on a stunning lake surrounded by mountains

This is home for the next two weeks

We dumped Caleb off in the middle of the mountains a few days ago. That's exactly what it felt like to me. Dumping. We just dumped him off.

Yes, I knew I would cry, but I just didn't know how long I would cry like that. You know, uncontrollable crying. Well, I haven't cried today. Not yet, anyway.

I guess this is one of those things someone forgot to tell me about somewhere between having a baby boy and then 14 years later leaving him in the middle of the mountains with complete strangers. Someone forgot to tell me how hard it would be to walk away.

We drove and drove and drove to get Caleb to the point where we could dump him. We were all excited and filled with anticipation.

Let me clarify here. I didn't know at this point in time that we would be dumping him. I still thought we were arriving to register and check-in.

We pulled into the driveway that leads to the camp and drove for what seemed like miles deep into the forest until we finally found the parking lot. Oh, it's not really a parking lot. It's an area where there are no trees. But, I'm still excited at this point. This is big woods country! Amazing things happen here.

Boys walk in.
Men walk out.

Mothers walk in smiling.
Mothers walk out sobbing.

At least this mother did.

There just came this point in time where we knew we had to leave. He knew we had to leave. We hugged and kissed and said the "I love yous" and hugged and kissed again. Then I felt the tears come. I didn't want to embarrass him and I certainly didn't want to put him in an awkward position. I didn't know what else to do. So I just turned and walked away. I quickly turned back around and smiled through my tears and told him, "I'll be praying for you every day!" Then I just kept walking. I never looked back. I think it was the worst moment in my life.

And so I dumped my son. I just left him. I left him standing there all alone. For hours that image of him standing there haunted me. I just couldn't get it out of my head. I kept thinking I should have turned back, grabbed his hand, and said, "It's OK. Let's go get your stuff and go home." But I didn't. I just kept walking.

I know I'm not the first mother to experience the pain of separation. I just had no clue it would be so hard.

I know for certain Caleb is on an amazing adventure of a lifetime. He's having an absolute blast sailing and canoeing and fishing and shooting and hiking and flying from trees and sleeping in a tipi.

Me? I'll be OK. The Lord is gracious and kind.

Just ask the millions of mothers who have done the same thing and lived!


  1. Michelle,
    Many hugs to you!!! I can't say that I cried when we left our firstborn at college - but then again, I had a few more years to get used to the idea as he was already 18 when I saw him walk into the back door of the dorm building and saw it close on him.
    I will say I cried a bit when we left our second son at the same college, but I didn't have the liberty to really break down. Our Anna was only recently turned six and she was sobbing as we pulled away. I had to pull myself together to show her that this is the normal thing - we raised our sons to fly and this was where we had to trust in the Lord for their 'solos'. (I will say there and then Anna decided that she would be homeschooled for college!)
    The Lord HAS been gracious and we are thankful that our sons both had 'ears to hear' the training we gave them.

    And, Michelle, you better take a whole box of tissues for next week :D I'll probably cry for you!!!

    Love, teri

  2. Ok, so my first thought was "How gorgeous! That is a place a person can breathe!" As I looked through the pictures, my thoughts turned to "I wonder what the white pillowcase is going to look like 2 weeks from now!" LOL! Can not wait to hear all his adventures! Love, hugs, and prayers for the next 2 weeks to go quickly for you!

  3. Teri, I was hoping Round One with Caleb would help me get through Round Two a little better. Honestly, what on earth was I thinking 7 months ago. I still have time to change my mind!

    Now about that white pillow case. There's a story behind that. I went out and specifically bought him new dark tan pillow cases. I figured the dirt would blend right in. He slept on them the night before we left only to wake-up in the morning and announce they were "scratchy". Really? They were 450 count cotton! So, he pulled off the tan cases and put on his old white cases, the ones he's used to. I promise to take a picture of them when he gets home. Then I'll see if the "Mama's got the magic with Clorox" works!

    Thanks for your prayers!

  4. Michelle, you can be there at the camp and change your mind, but I think Rachel is ready :D I'm just thinking it would be harder with my girlie to go than my guys. . .

  5. I told Rachel if we arrived at camp and found out her cabin had dirt floors, we were turning around and going straight back home! But they don't and we won't. She is way too excited.

  6. Yes, I am way too excited so don't think about changing your mind. I'm sure I'll have tons of fun!