This is me freaking out. I realize it’s hard to tell the difference from normal.

So yesterday I spent a great deal of the day in a vaguely weepy fetal position trying to distract myself by binge-watching bad horror flicks on Netflix.  (Sidenote: I recommend HouseBound because it’s awesome.  And Zombeavers because it’s awful.)  This isn’t an unusual position for me to be in every so often, but yesterday I had an actual reason (other than just my mind being broken) because yesterday Hailey left for sleep-away camp for 2 weeks and it sent me into a panic which only increased as the news told me about how suddenly babies were drifting off to sea and children were exploding.  Then Victor said that the news didn’t say that at all and I was letting my anxiety disorder take over.  Then I told Victor that we should maybe call the camp to make sure they haven’t accidentally replaced the horses with bears and he told me to go lay down and then I might have screamed, “WHAT IF SHE GETS LICE AND LOSES ALL HER SHOES?   WHAT IF SHE’S BAREFOOT RIGHT NOW AND THE FLOOR IS MADE OF LAVA?  TETANUS FLAVORED LAVA” and then I took some medication and had a lot of nightmares about that fact that I haven’t taught Hailey enough about how to prepare for knife fights and to not eat razor blades.  Then I consoled myself by remembering that I had at least told her not to go off with strangers but then I reminded myself that basically all the people at the camp we’d just abandoned her at were strangers and so I was sending mixed messages at best.  In fact, she’d probably already forgotten the millions of safety warnings I’d tried to instill in her.  And Victor agreed but he said that was probably a good thing.

And he’s probably right.

If you’ve been here long enough you already know I have severe anxiety disorder and the feeling of dread (which I hid from Hailey until the second she was out of sight) was the same one I had when I was a child and never made it through a sleepover because I’d panic that I’d never see my mom again and she’d have to drive over at midnight to get a teary me.

I used to worry that I’d pass on this dread and fear to Hailey but she’s honestly almost too unafraid.  To the point that if there are accidentally bears in the horse pens Hailey will probably ride them.  But it’s a lovely relief to know that she’s strong enough to be her own person and to do all of the amazing  things that I’d never (want to) do.  So today I’m going to do what my therapist suggests.  She told me I need to “channel my inner warrior” and remember that things are going to be fine.

Except that I don’t really have an inner warrior.  She says I can just pick one I like and try to embody the strong traits of them.  Joan of Arc or Sun Tzu or She-Hulk.  Except that I don’t entirely relate to any of them so instead I’m choosing someone a little closer to home.

I’m channeling my inner-Hailey.

Hailey one minute before leaving for camp.
Hailey one minute before leaving for camp.

Someone send me a bear.  And tell me everything will be fine.  And remind me that camp is a good thing and an excellent opportunity to grow up and mature.  (For me, I mean.  I suspect Hailey has already passed me in that area.)

475 thoughts on “This is me freaking out. I realize it’s hard to tell the difference from normal.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. She will have a great time, and you will, too. Thank you for sharing your life in this blog.

  2. That picture says it all…star-shaped power pose…she’s ready to take on the world! What a perfect inner warrior. You’ll be fine.

  3. I sent my 7 year old off to camp for the first time a week ago. On a plane. By herself?! It is a pretty shwanky camp and they post pictures. She is happy in all of them. She is fed and with friends and has apparently sacrificed her hairbrush to the camp spirits as I can see she hasn’t used it in days! Thanks for proving that I’m not the only one hyperventilating about this! Hailey will have a blast!!

  4. I am very proud of you for delaying the freak-out until after Hailey was out of sight. sends you a bear

  5. Sending you lots of love and strength. And a big hug. I don’t have any bears.

  6. What works for me is chanting “Inner Warrior HO! Inner Warrior HOOOOOO!” …basically calling it out to battle. Or to be a ho. Either way it makes me feel a little better.

  7. I want to say Hailey will be fine, but she’ll be better than fine. She’s going to have a fantastic time. Her fellow campers are going to look up to her. The counselors are going to want her help. And she’s going to come home with stories that will make you laugh until you cry. And you’ll be crying with happiness.

    And in the meantime you can watch the 2003 film Leeches! and laugh and wonder if guys on swim teams really take absurdly long showers while wearing their Speedos.

  8. Sending warrior hugs (and reminding myself to channel my own inner Hailey, too, because god damn do I need to tap into that). She’s going to be AWESOME (and you will be okay, too; promise).

  9. Almost nobody dies at camps. Everyone is so sue conscious these days that they’re almost too safe. And bears wouldn’t stay in a horse pen, they would leave so worst case scenario is an empty pen with nothing to ride.

  10. Oh, Mama Bear…. You are going to get through this. I suspect that children never know until they have kids of their own exactly how much courage it takes, or how much sacrifice is necessary, to be a good parent. And you are an excellent parent. You supported her in exactly the right ways through Robot Camp, and you are doing exactly what she needs now too. And when she comes how glowing with the stories of all her adventures, just hold on to that moment and the joy that it will bring you. And in the meantime hold onto the thought of that moment. hugs

  11. I was always the really shy kid that hated meeting strangers, so sleep-away camp was something I was really afraid to do, but my parents made me go and I had the time of my life. There are very few experiences from my childhood that I remember as clearly as that week at Camp Mohican. I learned to use a compass and steer a canoe and slept in a cabin on a bunk bed (top bunk!). I ate oatmeal because I was offered no other choice for breakfast and decided I actually liked it. I shared things with complete strangers and discovered I could be brave and independent. Looking back now, it was a life-changing experience for me and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Hailey’s going to learn so much and have such a great time!

  12. Ya know, I was on the fence about watching Zombeavers, but now I think I’ll give it a shot. Thanks.

    (and you know your daughter is gonna totally rock this life thing, right? You are a much better role model than you give yourself credit for)

  13. She’ll have a fabulous time and you’ll catch up on all the terrible horror movies on Netflix. My favorite right now is “Odd Thomas” btw. Also, if you haven’t binge-watched Penny Dreadful on Showtime, do it!! It’s wonderful.

    Apparently the Grizzlies at the MN Zoo threw a rock at the viewing glass and broke it. So really, horseback camp sounds like the safest option for her.

  14. Time for some margaritas and pet a cat and throw a toy near Dorothy Barker (who might just stare at you, because some dogs aren’t really into fetch). You are strong and brave. You’re a writer. And you may think sometimes that’s a solitary thing, but you really are reaching out to the whole wide world. And we’re reaching back.

  15. My mother still keeps in touch with friends she made at sleep-away camp many decades ago. (Hint: I’m her youngest kid, and I’m 40.) It is an experience she continues to treasure to this day. Hailey will be so overwhelmingly fine, you won’t even be able to comprehend how perfectly fine she’ll be.

  16. I know this anxiety well. I had terrifying dreams about my son from the time he was born. And I worried not only for his life and well-being, but that I would pass on my anxiety. I didn’t. Like Haley he was brave and fearless and now he is a mostly happy 26-year-old. And it all really will be okay.

    Looks like a fabulous inner warrior to be.

  17. Hailey is awesome and will be fine. Please try to remember that thoughts are just that. They aren’t real, they aren’t who you are (really). You can’t touch them. I’m working on learning this through my daily meditation. Fortunately for me there’s an app for that: Hang in there. We are all pulling for you.

  18. Hailey will ride bears and concur macrame zombies while you attempt to channel your Inner Goddess, um, I mean Warrior. She’ll be fine. You’ll be fine. Sending strength. And a margarita. And maybe a Xanax.

  19. Girl, as a mom I can totally understand your fear. But rest assured that you and Victor have raised a bonafide bad ass in Miss Hailey. Also, Housebound is AWESOME. Make sure you watch The Babadook and The Following if you haven’t.

  20. Your Inner Hailey can email Hailey – that way she can wave to herself without a mirror. You are breathing – you are doing great.
    The only bear I’d send you is Little Bear. I swear he is waaay tooo calming.

  21. Hailey will be fine. And channelling your strong, brave daughter is the sweetest thing I have ever heard. I plan to do the same next time I’m nervous and channel my fearless 8-year old in an important business meeting. Unfortunately her main feature is that she does everything pretending to be cat. They’ll be like, “so can we sign the contract now?” and I’ll be like, “No, this deal is rubbish, throw in some tuna fish and I’m in”. Guaranteed end of year bonus for me, oh yes.

  22. She will have a wonderful time and you will be glad that you swallowed enough to let her go to camp. (I could never have done it when I was her age. So great for her that she escaped it.) So long as it’s not Outer Banks shark camp, she’ll be fine.

  23. You got this Chicka!!! You have raised a strong little girl. I suggest wine.

  24. Gary, either you have a hilarious typo (to me, anyway) in your comment, or I’m not cool enough to know what “hang in the Jenny” means. On a non-sexual tangent, “The Jenny” sounds like it needs to become a thing, and not like the J-Lo thing.

    If I write it on an internet comment section it will happen, right?

    Make it happen.

  25. “She says I can just pick one I like and try to embody the strong traits of them.” fake it til you make it! you and she will be fine.

  26. I wonder if Zombiebeavers will let people ride them? I was curious about this gem on Netflix, so thanks for your qualified review — along with everything else you write about that is strangely similar to my world! You’re not alone!

  27. I think channeling your inner-Hailey is a great idea. She’s going to be fine. You’ll get through it, though it will suck.

  28. Thank you. This will be me on Saturday and I’m already crying every day! You’ve inspired me to believe I will survive.

  29. I literally didn’t sleep for the first two months after my daughter started college. What if she gets sick? What if someone is mean to her? What if she goes to a party and terrible things happen because this is college and there are older boys there and OH MY GAWD WHERE DID I SEND MY BABY?!? But she finished her year and we’re all still alive. She starts her first job in a week and a half so that’s giving me new nightmares.

  30. you’re going to be great. you are going to see that you are brave, and that’s why she is. you put yourself out into the world every day, in ways many people couldn’t imagine, and with an honesty that most people can’t muster even when they’re alone. that’s brave. you’re brave. you’ve been modeling that bravery for hailey all her life. that’s why she’s able to go do all these things you couldn’t as a child – because she knows what it is to be brave. and because she has you. she knows she’s safe, and that makes her able to put herself out in the world in her own ways. you are each channeling your inner-each-other!

  31. You forget Jenny that you not only have Hailey, but you have an army of warriors at your disposal. Sure some of us are broken, but we all love you and stand behind you because we love you.

    So camp is a good thing, you will be fine, Hailey is going to do amazing and you have a strong warrior support system here on the blog and on Facebook & Twitter for support whenever you need it.

  32. Can you name a single kid you know who has had something bad happen to them at camp, other than the routine stuff that happens at home anyway? (E.g., sure they might get a cold or break an arm.). I can’t. The really bad stuff (car accident, kidnapping) tends to happen close to home.

  33. You are much braver than you think you are. Haley is only as strong as she is because of you.

  34. that picture says a thousand words – most of them are ‘c’mon world – give it your best shot! I’m gonna rock this camp’. and don’t be too upset when she comes home & says she is camp-sick (as opposed to home-sick). this is totally normal for kids that have a great time! I believe you will BOTH be stronger from this.

  35. OMG this was ME last week, and my kid only went for an overnight. To be fair, though, he’s nowhere near as kick-ass as Hailey.

  36. Have you watched the Netflix series “Sense8”? If not, it’s about eight people across the globe who suddenly discover they’re a “cluster,” which means they’re telepathically connected. So, for instance, the transgendered hacker is cornered by the cops, but she borrows the martial arts skills of the Korean business exec and kicks everyone’s ass before using the Kenyan bus driver’s abilities to steal a hybrid and stunt-drive away.

    In lieu of an Inner Warrior, I vote you just tap into your cluster. Plus there will be at least seven other people in there with you, so you’ll never have to go through anything alone.

  37. I don’t have an anxiety disorder, but sending my kids off to camp usually makes me super anxious Just Because. I do it anyway because it’s good for them, and they like it, and all of the other reasons kids go to things without their parents. But I do spend a lot of the time they are away imagining terrible things are happening. I think that’s actually super normal. 😀

  38. Absolutely beautiful tribute to your daughter. You and Victor should be very proud of the young lady she is becoming.

  39. I fully sympathize with you…mine started college last year and I thought that I’d Lose. My. Shit. And I did…but then I got it together and she has not once been mugged outside her dorm or fallen prey to the date rape drug. Now she’s been home for the summer, but is going back at the end of this month and it’s actually easier this time.
    And bears and cougars and stuff are pretty rare in Texas.

  40. You are not alone in the worry, but I will tell you it is unfounded. She will have the time of her life at camp and forever thank you for letting her go. She will make new friends and have great experiences that will make your heart double in size when she tells you all about it.

  41. I started to read your post as “vaginally weepy” and I was all like ‘maybe that’s why I’m always in a lousy mood. .. I have a weepy vajay-jay’. Then l reread your opening, but I’m still upset about my vaj. I think l may need to go lay down.

  42. Hailey has already shown herself to be this amazing, resilient powerhouse. She faced down the ghost peppers when none of the boys did and went back to build herself a robot panther. She’s amazing. And so many of us could learn so many things from her.

    You’re doing great by her.

  43. Everything will be fine.

    If you do nothing else in your life, ever, you can still know that you have done the amazing, by helping this beautiful human become who she is. Look at that phenomenal girl! Wow.

    I can’t think of a better person for you to channel (except maybe Wonder Woman), and your Inner Hailey comes with the added bonus of a pat on the back for a fine job as Mom.

    I think you are probably good for each other, like my daughter has been for me.
    Blessings to both of you.
    You are both going to be just fine. ♥

  44. The good news: his only complaints were that the counselors let them stay up too late, he had to carry ALL HIS BAGS HIMSELF, and a six-year-old walked across his pillow with muddy shoes. No word on whether there were bears.

  45. You hid your anxiety till she was out of sight? Sounds like amazing strength to me.

  46. I know I’m missing the point of this point, but holy heck… the news is reporting that children are exploding? Is this a spontaneous thing? Or is there a trigger? Should I be avoiding the small humans?!!!!

  47. Well think about it. If there are bears there a. the counselors won’t let her near them because lawsuits and b. since she’d be safe for lack of being near the penned up bears you could just merrily remind Victor you were right about there being bears at camp.

    And let’s say she actually DID ride a bear. Do you know how much fun she’d have? I mean it would have to be on of those trained circus bears because why else would it let them put a saddle on it? (And no we’re not going any where near the bare back bear pun that’s screaming at us right now.)

    Now, go buy a giant metal giraffe and tell Victor it’s a therapy giraffe.

  48. I am no expert since i am currently trying to talk my 11-year-old son into driving 3 miles to his school to pick up some forms I need so I don’t have to. You are clearly more sane than I.

  49. Ummmm. I don’t really know how to say this, but start fucking preparing for college. Not financially (well, I mean, yes, that too) but emotionally. It’s like this feeling you’re having now, times eleventy billion because they are fucking old enough to get into some serious trouble and why do we get to know where they are and what they are doing all of their lives (pretty much) and then they just LEAVE? Like that? And, btw, this is from a mother who sent her kid to camp, shared custody, and already suffered through college and now I’m all “OMG he’s an adult? What if he gets hurt and no one calls me?” Is there no end to this sweet, sweet pain of motherhood? I realize this is not really that supportive but I think your experience just touched off my PANIC about my sweet schmoo baby boy being out in a big bad world and probably being just fine. Just like he was after camp and college… Sorry and also thank you. I needed to put this into words. And it’s all about me. Dammit. Have you seen Drag me to hell? 😉

  50. Hailey is going to kick the world’s butt, and then give it a hug. And frankly, it needs both.

    Also, I thought Housebound was great too!

  51. I don’t have your anxiety issues and sending my kids off to camp is still a teary, panic inducing event. So on this one I am calling “normal mama” on your anxiety and letting you know that we all get it. We have spent so many years keeping track of their schedules, homework, spelling lists, etc that the total lack of “stuff” to keep track of for 2 weeks is hard. Mine have gone and come back from camp already this summer and I hardly knew what to do with myself. I walked the dog every morning and evening, I picked all the TV shows, I read a book, I knitted and frankly I was bored and lonely. I glimpsed what life will be like in 7 short years when both mine are at college and freaked a bit more. I am grateful for girlfriends and hobbies because mothering has been a full time gig for 13 years now and I am getting ready to be very “unbusy” in just a few short years.

  52. Big love, Miss Jenny. It’s going to be great – your Hailey is awesome and should she decide to ride a bear, well, by heavens, she’s gonna ride that bear and come and tell you all about it and you will be so very proud!

    Though you may have to find space for the bear to, you know, hang out and join the family.

  53. Hailey will be having a fantastic time and meeting forever friends, I too have my kids away for 3 weeks (ugh!) and I find myself wandering around my house picking things up and putting them back down again thinking I forgot to do something then I realize that it’s just that my house is quiet and I’m lonely, but they will come back soon and fill my house with crazy loud noise and I’ll eventually wonder when I’ll have a quiet moment again, then September comes!!! Hang in there and check the camp website for photos!!!!!

  54. I want you to know I remember so well not letting my kids in on my worries about their travels– it is so important and SO DIFFICULT. Few know how difficult; I admire you and praise your overwhelming strength that no matter what protects your child. Channeling your Inner Hailey is a great idea, and remember, she is channeling you and the strong girl you have let her become.

  55. My daughter has been going to sleep away camp for a week away from home since Kindergarten. What I like about ours is that they post pictures online every day. And that they happen to be ten miles down the road. Does Hailey’s camp do something like that? Then you could check that she was okay yesterday, if that would help at all.

  56. oh, boy it was difficult for me. I never, ever wanted to leave home and go to camp (even day camp), and yet my son did. Never crossed his mind to be worried. I had to be strong–so I know I can send you strong mama-bear vibes. Because she needs to go and find her place in the world a little at a time.

  57. Hailey looks just like you….only much prettier. In fact, she is gorgeous!

  58. Hailey will be great. You have raised a lovely girl and she has a good head on her shoulders. Just breathe. She’s having fun.

  59. Some of the fears are understandable. Some of them are irrational. The bears one is probably irrational, but this is Texas, so honestly, who knows.

    The point I’m trying to make (obviously, with debatable success) is that since it’s hard to tell the rational fears from the irrational fears, the only way of continuing to function at all is to refuse to let the fears completely take over and inhibit the carrying-on of life. If that means channeling your inner She-Hulk (or Hailey, in this case), researching bears to figure out if they’re indigenous to Texas, or crying it out for a bit in order to actually feel the feels instead of burying them only to have them pop up later like a jack-in-the-box of crazy, do what you need. Probably better to avoid violence or alcohol as coping mechanisms, but hey, you do you. And when Hailey comes back in two weeks, you’ll be able to listen to all the wacky camp stories and be fine.

  60. She will be fine! I survived camp and I was you. I sent letters home begging my mother to rescue me, the food is awful, they make us drink bug-juice, rain came in our tent and alllllllll my stuff was soaked and it was all awful! No one ever rescued me, but one of my tent mates was apparently more pathetic and she got to go home (yes I do still hold this against you, Pierra, wherever you are!)

    But I still remember ALL those camp songs … I’ve taught them to my kids and their kids…and I make a hell of a tepee fire and I can swim (ok, only side and backstroke) and, other than the residual abandonment issues, it was a good thing for me.

    (She will be fine. Send lots of letters and lots of candy…she’ll be most popular kid there!)

  61. Hailey will love camp. Mom will think eternity just started. But Mom? It will be OKAY. She’ll come back bronzed, scratched, dirty and grinning. And the first words out of her mouth will be: “Can I go next year?” (And you’ll probably get an artsy-fartsy craft thingee made out of pine needles and squirrel poop. Be gracious, though…she made it just for YOU.)

  62. I recently read Girl Online by the blogger Zoella, and granted it’s a book aimed at teens but it talks a lot about ways to handle anxiety and manage it. I actually found it to make a lot of sense and be really helpful, recommend it to anyone that is struggling with anxiety too.

  63. You pee in front of a bear every day. Go in the bathroom have a conversation with the giant bear about how you are going to ride it to the camp if anything happens to her. That would be totally embarrassing for the bear, and he would be likely to want to ensure that nothing bad would happen so he wouldn’t have to be shamed.

  64. I don’t know if this is the kind of support you need right now, but I just realized in reading your post that I chose not to have kids because of the anxiety that I am only recently even acknowledging (because isn’t depression enough, brain? Brain says NO and by the way this is what your problem has been for all your life HA HA HA HA HA). So, thanks for that? Anyway, your daughter is the perfect inner warrior. Kick it, inner-Hailey! Also…tetanus-flavored lava..yum.

  65. She’ll be fine, but if when she gets back she has doubled in size, grown a thick brown pelt, and lost her opposable thumbs, you should be alert to the possibility she and the bear might be running some kind of “parent trap” scheme on you. Be alert.

  66. PS- as an adult I suspected my mother sent me away so she could party and barely thought of me. You just made me feel better!

  67. Hey girl, If Hailey finds a bear she will stuff it (it’s in her DNA, no?) and bring it back to you to wear for next year’s conference. OK, you can wear it in the bathroom while we bring you drinks. You will be the bear in the bathroom with drinks. Why would that be a bad thing?
    Also, she’s having an awesome time swimming and learning new games and riding horses and getting dirty. There will be bumps and scratches and some crying, at some point. Better the small ones now so she can handle the big ones life will throw at her later.

  68. You definitely have an inner warrior. It is stronger than most people’s because it is constantly being attacked by rogue anxieties and vagabond fears. An inner Hailey seems like a fabulous addition to the battalion!

  69. I just sent my first-born off to Boy Scout camp for 10 days. He asked me yesterday “Is this the longest I’ve been away from you?” Yes. Yes, it is. And he is sadly lacking in the common sense department. But he will do fine. And I will do fine. And I might sleep with his teddy bear one or two nights.

  70. Strike a power pose ( Supposedly it helps channel inner strength but if nothing else it’s a good stretch. 🙂

    Hailey will be absolutely fine. She survived ghost peppers and probably (hopefully! haha) learned to skip that initiation. Camp is for exploring her comfort zones and she’s gonna learn a lot of useful stuff she won’t even realize she’s learning. All in a safe environment.

    And besides, you gotta be ready to hear all her awesome stories when she comes back, because she’ll probably just be ready to bubble over to tell you!

  71. The real truth is that you are a great example. You have anxieties that are overwhelming and you are still strong enough to march forward in this world. I promise your daughter sees it and one day will be in awe of you. I know this because my husband tells me this almost every day.

  72. Reading you is so complex. I worry for you but then I laugh. Such a roller coaster ride (but I do enjoy it). Your lovely daughter will be home soon with such great stories to share as well as stories you’ll treasure. I wish you the best until that time comes (imagine me inserting cat poster with the caption “Hang in there!”).

  73. My first time at camp, I sent my folks a post card describing how lonely I was and how I cried myself to sleep every night and how camp was terrible. They kept it for posterity (and for the amazing pictures I drew of myself crying) because when they picked me up at the end of camp, I didn’t want to leave. My counselor was my new hero and I had new friends and songs and stories. Your daughter will have an amazing time (which you know) and you will be fine in the end. Lava almost never happens at summer camp. Though burning marshmallows is a real possibility…

  74. I think she’d make a badass bear-rider. Hang in there, Mom. My girl grew up to be pretty good on the safety side and on the adventure side, and I was an anxious loon as well.

  75. Camps don’t replace horses with bears, they replace them with emus.
    Lice don’t care about shoes. They wear Uggs.
    Unless the camp is in Hawaii, the floor will not be lava, it’ll be marshmallows.
    Tetanus is not a flavor, it’s an herb.
    Razor blades don’t taste good, but shaving cream can be used as a desert topping.

    And remember, a stranger is just a frenemy you haven’t met, yet!

  76. “channeling my inner Hailey” <—brilliant! This is going to be my new mantra from now on when life is all funky. Your daughter is kick ass! She will be fine and so will you. You got this Jenny!

  77. Everything will be okay. And if she DOES get lice, well, my daughter got lice last week and it wasn’t too horrible to take care of.

  78. Thanks for this. As always, you have shown me that I’m not alone with my totally realistic fears of mayhem. I channel my inner Dylan, who is my brave one despite his own crippling anxiety.

  79. I got lice at camp when I was a kid. My point is that I am ok today in spite of it. And I still have all my hair. She will be fine.

  80. Telling you not to worry is useless, you’re a mom, you’re going to worry. Who am I kidding, now I’m worried, and Haley isn’t even my kid. In case you’re wondering my OCD issue is worrying. All this aside, victor wouldn’t let Haley go anywhere dangerous, so we can trust him when he says she will be fine. Hey, shes got your dads blood, so if there are any scary wild animals, she’ll just try to kill and stuff them, and then she’ll bring them home and add them to your collection. That in itself will guarantee that victor will never let her go to camp again, so..,problem solved!!

  81. as the mother of a teenaged boy whose friends are getting drivers licenses and who wants to walk home by himself at midnight since it’s summertime, I can tell you that through many panic attacks and being unable to sleep and being anxious that every person I see walk past my window is a murdery serial killer hit and run artist on their way to intercept my kid, not a single bad thing has ever happened. no cops, no hospitals (which is the mantra I make him chant mostly every time he leaves the house, and he humors me by pretending that we’re all ha ha lighthearted about it because he’s cool like that)

  82. Can I just copy and paste what egflores said? You have always battled back from your anxieties and have worked to lead Hailey to be a confident young lady. I am shy and could never imagine doing the things that Hailey has already been doing. I think picking her as your inner warrior is the perfect decision. Maybe you should make some WWHD (what would Hailey do) bracelets to remind yourself.

  83. Bears aren’t all bad. After all some guy apparently had a couple he thought were dogs for two years! Maybe I need a bear. Andrew keeps telling me I am not allowed one, or a wolverine, or a goat. I am deprived.

    I think channeling your inner Hailey is a marvelous idea. I also think that you have done an amazing job of raising a strong, confident daughter who is not afraid of new experiences. You could have raised a child who was fearful and afraid, but you overcame your own fears to help make your daughter amazing.

  84. I totally relate with the anxiety, mine has been through the roof lately too. Let’s both put our inner goddesses in charge. You’re amazing. Chin up!!

  85. I get anxious leaving my dog at the groomer’s.

    I also have a Victorian parlor taxidermied bear head to send you. Really! No one else will appreciate it more than you. Send me your address (or at least an address where you are comfortable having strangers send taxidermy).

  86. Also dropped my youngest at sleepaway camp yesterday for the first time (just for 1 week). She was so excited I couldn’t freak out. The head of the camp looked like she might have been 24. I’m going for a superhero movie binge this week….

  87. I experienced a little panic myself the first time my boys went to camp. I was scared my youngest would get lost in the woods and they wouldn’t realize he was missing. And all kinds of other panicky thoughts went through my head too. So it’s normal, Jenny. Yes, tell Victor, your thoughts are all normal! 🙂 And the best part about it was when we went to pick the kids up, they were still alive. And they were well. And they were happy. Hailey will do great!

  88. Not gonna lie. Camp is only the beginning. But each time you will get better at coping and eventually Hailey will be old enough to know without having to see it that you are having an anxiety attack and she is going to know exactly how to help you because kids are awesome like that.
    When my Hailee hit 14 and started not coming home after school. instead, choosing to go hang out at the mall with the pedophiles and rapists, my anxiety was so bad I would leave work early to wait for her outside the school so I could follow her to the mall and watch her like a creepy stalker (the kind I warned her about). She now sends me a selfie when she’s on the train to show me she’s with friends and sends me another when she’s at the mall to show me she arrived safely so I don’t feel like I have to follow her anymore.
    The anxiety doesn’t go away, unfortunately. But you learn better ways of coping and those who love you learn better ways to help you cope.
    You are gonna live through this, Hailey is going to survive and in the end you are gonna laugh about it all when she is older.

  89. My friend’s daughter, who has autism and was actually bitten by an actual snake at a botanical garden, proved to be super-enthusiastic about her day camp this summer. She’s thriving, and you will survive. Plus, riding a bear would be cool, if they make a saddle big enough. Just don’t try to feed it. Your fear, I mean. Or the bear.

  90. Picture yourself greeting her in two weeks and she has the hugest smile on her face, like she’s some kick-ass warrior adventuress and all she can say to you is, “Thank you, thank-you, thank-you! I had the best time of my life!” – That’s how it’s gonna go down, you awesome momma bear. (Go ahead and slip yourself an early little pat on the back)

  91. you know. It’s common for girls to look to their mothers as role models, but you know there is absolutely nothing that says mothers can’t look to their daughters for the same. You channel your inner Hailey. She’s smart, she’s strong, and she loves you. Sounds like a pretty darn good hero to have.

  92. My favorite summer memories are of camp – in Texas! – and rest assured she will have a great time and be thrilled to see you after it is over. However, now as a mom… I know I will totally be like you when my daughter goes to camp….

  93. ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ Consider it pre-college rehearsal! You’ve got this! She’ll be home before you know it.

  94. I sent my youngest to camp when she was 11 and had all of the horrible thoughts too – strangers, bears, lice, food (literally everything). What I didn’t expect was a letter about a week and a half into it from her telling me to send underwear because I forgot to pack it…. In light of my mother of the year gaff, the camp went to the store and bought her some. My middle daughter goes to college in August and underwear is at the top of the packing list.
    Haley is a great choice for an inner warrior and will be absolutely fine!

  95. I went to camp from age 6-15, and then worked there afterwards. camp is an amazing experience!! And I have gotten lice before (though not at camp) and it is treatable. And They dont make bear-sized saddles so the chances of accidentally riding one are low.

  96. she’s going to be great and will return home with a bear army! thanks for being you!

  97. Everything will be ok. Treat yourself to something that will make you feel better. A pedicure? A stuffed guinea pig? Some gardening? Trust Victor and be happy for Haley. This too shall pass. 🙂

  98. Hailey is going to love camp! Her sense of adventure, love of animals, and kind heart will make this a terrific experience for her. I grew up going to sleep away camp each summer and then was a camp counselor. My times at camp are some of my best memories of childhood and adolescence.

    Camp is a place to learn, explore, grow, make friends, and have fun in an environment that feels very free but is actually very structured. When I was a camp counselor, we were all there because we love camp and we love kids. 24 years later, I still remember my campers and the fun we had!

    Hailey is safe. She is in a place where she is loved and where people who want to see her expand and grow in those two weeks will encourage her and guide her to do so. Focus on that, momma. Take care!

  99. But children are hugging puppies, lifeguards are are watching out for kids, homeless men are blowing minds with their piano-playing prowess, police are dancing with gay pride marchers, pizza delivery boys are saving men, and grandmas are finishing ultra marathons. For every one bad thing happening, ten good things are happening… the news just can’t use those to incite panic. Find the good.

  100. Imagining worst case scenarios is a side effect of creativity, it’s a package deal I think. She will have a great time, and next time it will be a little easier. But we all need to channel our inner warrior sometimes. Go Hailey! Go Jenny!

  101. I just sent my kiddo off to his first sleep away camp yesterday. I am doing everything I can to not think about it too much. I totally feel you!! HUGS and I will be thinking of you when I can’t distract myself anymore and go into full meltdown tonight.

  102. The level of anxiety I have when it comes to my baby daughter (16 years old) being without me is very high. The first time I left my toddler daughter home with her Dad he gave her a peanut butter cookie (he forgot she was allergic), luckily I called home and was able to rush her to the hospital, another time he locked the toddler into the car on a 95 degree day, (luckily it was running). After our divorce they went on vacation and he made her ten year old self run back to the room and get the camera, and she was hit by a car (in the hotel parking lot, going about ten miles per hour, and they almost didn’t tell me), another time they missed the second leg of their flight home so they rented a car and drove six hours in the wee morning hours, another vacation he let her eat bagels and cereal (both of them knowing full well she’s gluten intolerant), another vacation she was stung by a jellyfish, another vacation she told me they had so much fun when Dad was racing down the mountain on the curvy roads in the rental car. It doesn’t help that he thinks because I take Matilda for regular check ups that I am a hypochondriac, and that he’s an adrenaline junky. Shit no wonder I am full of anxiety when he takes her anywhere. That’s it. No more vacations with Dad. BESIDES my now documented fear, when she had gone on two school trips I was a wreck. I called every single place they were eating to make sure they had gluten free items, that it was safe for a person with a peanut allergy. I wanted to know the age and driving records of the bus drivers. I wrote her teachers long instruction letters of how to handle an epi-pen, and how to recognize an allergic reaction. I didn’t sleep either of those weekends. I made sure she had a special meal on the sunset cruise, and at the University they visited. She was kind enough to call me each night to let me know she was okay, and even answered my texts during the day. The first time she drove off in her car this year I cried so hard I was hyperventilating. Now, I have to make a concerted effort NOT to freak every time she drives off. And I mean I have to really concentrate on something else. This month she drives to a totally kick ass internship every day, on the highway, about fifteen miles from home. I am overjoyed for her, and get headaches trying not to think about the awful things that could happen.

  103. I’m just going to quote beck at you from your post last year when Hailey was at camp … “My favorite line was by Hailey’s nine-year-old cabin-mate who was giving helpful advice to a young girl who was pining for her lost summer camp puppy-love: “FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, LOIS. THIS IS CAMP. GET TOUGH OR DIE.” ”

    I’m just sayin’ 😉

    Deep breaths and fake it until you make it!

  104. I needed this today, the last few days my anxiety has been crippling and it seems like every time I try to focus on something else, I just can’t get out of my own head. Trying to find my warrior.

  105. I, too, couldn’t go on a sleepover for the longest time! Sooooooo many teary calls to my parents at midnight. GO YOU for raising such an awesome girl-person!


  107. Camp is a good thing, and she will have fun and come back fine (and if she’s anything like my little cousin Talia, speaking in a Russian accent and demanding everyone call her ‘Sparkles’ for some reason). Isn’t that a thing to look forward to?

  108. And now seeing all the positive and encouraging posts I feel like I wasn’t helping. I just wanted you to know I relate. (And so you can laugh at how nuts I am, which should make you feel better)… I guess in a way I WAS helping?

  109. I too binge watch horror movies on Netflix. The Den is actually pretty good. I’ll have to give House Bound a look and if I’m feeling extra homicidal, I’ll watch Zombibeavers.

  110. I was like you, Jenny. I didn’t even like to stay with family members overnight. Luckily I had an equally anxious best friend (22 years later, and we are still BFF’s. And we are still very anxious.) I just last week talked to my doctor about getting back on the anxiety meds I have been off of for six years. Life is stressful. people die. Work is overwhelming. I can’t just lock myself in my car and cry like I used to. My mom doesn’t get it. My boyfriend doesn’t get it. My BFF…she gets it. She’s on meds too because the world is scary. People die. LIfe sucks sometimes. But I am grateful that there are women like you out there who are not afraid to talk about how scary and overwhelming things can be. It is OK to hide sometimes. It is OK to not want to do things because It’s too loud or too crowded or too unknown. Thank you for saying that out loud.
    And yes, Hailey will be fine at camp. I hope one day I have kids that are that courageous. Because I never was.

  111. Camp is awesome. For me, being someone growing up with a complex system of (albiet undiagnosed at the time) anxiety disorders, camp became this other world where I didn’t really have the same fears and anxieties as before. I mean, I rafted down class 3 rapids! I slept in a tent all by myself! I made friends with people and wasn’t afraid to talk to them. And despite my first experience at sleep-away camp being less than stellar (I almost drowned, I almost got covered in poison ivy, and I almost got struck by lightning; keyword “almost”) I came back year after year. And then, when I was in college, I became a counselor one summer at an archaeology camp and taught kids how to make arrowheads and helped them mummify hot dogs and taught them how to flat shovel and trowel and screen. Camp is good for kids. It brings them so far out of their comfort zone that they begin to question their irrational fears, and when you hand them a chunk of flint and an antler billet they go for it despite the fact that they just watched you cut through leather with the arrowhead you made. Because you told them that they could do it. Also, my inner warrior has been since the 7th grade and will forever be Sabriel from the Abhorsen series by Garth Nix.

  112. I’m strangely comforted by the fact that you actually had the same anxiety that I did, during my early years going to sleepovers. I learned to push it all the way to the bottom of my gut, though it often rears it’s head from time to time when I decide it is just better if I don’t try to go where ever it is that I was planning to go at any particular time.

  113. I’d curl up next to you on the couch so we could have anxiety attacks together, but that would mean watching a scary movie…which I get kind of anxious about.

  114. Oh, you made me cry. You have raised a beautiful and strong girl! Good on you.

  115. I loved my summers at camp. I am sure she will have a fantastic time and come back with stories that will make you laugh and be proud of all the fun crazy things she got to do. I recommend Bill & Tucker VS Evil as a distraction.

  116. Um, please get out of bed and go have marital relations with Victor in the kitchen or living room etc….because you are kid free for two whole weeks! Have a wine slushie and watch some inappropriate TV. Go to a not kid-friendly restaraunt for dinner.

    Celebrate that the two of you are doing a great job raising an awesome kid who embraces life! And maybe write her a letter or two from Hunter S. Tomcat or one of the other pets. Those were my favorite letters to get at camp. Xoxoxo

  117. I think channeling your inner Hailey is the best, most beautiful thing you can do right now. It’s a wonderful compliment to her amazingness and a compliment to your parenting skills/humility for you to want to emulate her.

  118. As a former camper and Girl Scout camp counselor, Hailey will be fine. She will be dirty and talking a mile a minute and singing songs that make absolutely no sense when she gets home and she won’t be able to wait for next year. I am not an outgoing person… but you’d never know that when I’m at a camp! I still keep in touch with some of the people I met nearly 20 years ago as a camper!

  119. I really, REALLY want you to buy yourself a camp outfit just like Hailey’s and have Victor take a photo of you posed exactly that way, We need to see that. YOU need to see that! Pretty please?

  120. At the sleep-away camp my parents, the Hitlers, sent me to, the counselors were trying to teach me to tread water in a pool with no shallow end. And every time I’d put my hands on the edge to support myself SO AS NOT TO DIE, they’d step on them. I’d better stop posting on your blog because I never bring good news.

  121. Everything will be fine. Though I have to say if I was in the same position I’d be loosing it too. Mine a ball of anxiety too though so that will probably never happen. Maybe one day we’ll shoot for day camp.

  122. I have a bear in our yard….his name is BooBoo, yes a bit predictable, but he’s pretty darn cute. He steals our bird food then walks around the yard while me, my boyfriend and our cat watch him. As long as Halley loves and respects bears…and keeps a nice distance, she can enjoy them as much as we do! I’d attach a photo but this thing doesn’t have button. Confront fear at all costs…you will find its usually in our head and we end up having a great time 🙂

  123. Growing up I was, relatively speaking, a fragile (read: wimpy) child. The outdoors and I didn’t always see eye-to-eye. (Still don’t.) Yet I managed to go away to various “wilderness camps” in the summer without anything serious ever befalling me. (Which, in some ways, is disappointing because those might have made for good stories to tell years later, but oh well.) Anyway, Hailey’s going to be more than fine, and I know firsthand how people telling you things like that don’t necessarily change the fretful inner voices [our outer ones.]

    Anyway. Everything will be fine!

  124. I’m with ya, darlin’. I just sent my baby to live among the hipsters in Portland. Alone. With no knife skills. Okay, she’s with her cousin and will be going to college in the fall but that doesn’t mean I didn’t scare strangers with my ugly cry at the airport.

  125. Oh, I’m glad you wrote this, and I’m glad to see all the “She’ll be fine!” letters because I’m sending both my sweet, gentle, goofy kids away for a week for the first time ever. They’re 12 and 10, but I completely understand the feeling — the gut-punching fear — that they are not prepared for the world. (And they’re leaving around a tough anniversary for me, to boot.) I’ll summon Agents Carter and May and Donna Noble and know that they’ll come back with fantastic stories.

  126. Sorry, but I don’t believe you when you say you don’t have an inner warrior–you are able to talk about your anxiety and depression, and make people laugh at the same time. And help SO many people just by speaking out loud. You’re totally a warrior, and you rock!

  127. Camp is fun. She needs it. Summer camp is not about us–it’s about our kids. You did the best thing you could do for her by letting her head out the door on her adventure. We all have been through separation anxiety with our children. Really. It’s o.k.

  128. The bears won’t know what hit them! My daughter started going to camp for three weeks at a time when she was 12 or so. She’s 18 now and still considers camp to be The Best Place On Earth. If they’d let her take her horse she’s still be going as a counselor. She loved it and so will Hailey. Just look forward to all the exciting stories she will have to share when she gets back. Not to mention all the handy crafts… I’m willing to bet you currently have a serious lanyard shortage you aren’t even aware of. hugs

  129. You are such a great Mom. I suspect she gets the “Do the thing anyway,” attitude from watching you when you do persevere – like when you send her off to camp in spite of your worries.

  130. is this some sort of cheer camp? If so let me just say she will make a great sweater monkey…just look at that picture. her stance, her smile… GO HAILEY!

  131. She will be fine and is probably making memories she’ll keep forever. And honestly, Mama…we all feel like this when our babies leave the nest, even temporarily. Hang in there, and she will be home before you know it hugs

  132. You should do what I do when I can’t find a hero. I photoshop one. In fact, I’ll spent so long looking for my hero parts and cobbling them together horribly that I don’t even realize when I’ve lost the need to have one.

    Sleepaway camp is truly for the brave. That Hailey is my hero.

  133. Oh yeah. Been there. Both of mine got snowed in at Outdoor Lab when they were in sixth grade. I actually called a friend who was a teacher at the school (and not up in the mountains) and demanded in tears that she call the camp as an official school person to find out how the kids were. They were great. I was a wreck.
    Here’s what I tell myself repeatedly. For all my worry about them when they aren’t with me the worst thing that happened to my kids happened in front of me and I didn’t realize it, when my Molly was six and her appendix burst, filling her with infection. She survived after a long hospital stay, and I ended up being diagnosed with PTSD.
    So I tell myself to let go, breathe deep, and trust all will be okay. I am not the key to their safeness.

  134. I was actually a very anxious child and still had a tremendous time and didn’t die OR get lice OR get abducted at sleepaway camp. Hailey will do great!
    Channel your inner Hailey, and maybe do some things she would do that you wouldn’t, so you have amazing stories to tell her when she gets back (which will TOTALLY trump her “and then the horses were bears” story)

  135. Sending your baby off with strangers is never easy – even if you don’t have an anxiety disorder. She will be fine. Look at her…she is strong and confident – and YOU taught her that. Sending hugs.

  136. Let’s not forget that YOU GAVE BIRTH to this miracle child. Anyone who can get through pregnancy and labor and the whole birthing thing can get through anything. Call on THAT subpersonality.

  137. You’re a great mom and she’s a wonderful kid. You’ve got this!!❤️❤️

  138. I couldn’t even finish Zombeavers. I don’t know if it was the terrible acting or all of the beers I consumed, but I fell asleep.

  139. You’ll be fine. I survived my daughter being in Europe for 12 days. Without Wifi at times.

  140. You know it’s not courage unless you’re afraid and you do it anyway, right?

    You are being super brave and amazing to let Hailey go do this. It is scary and right and it’s life. She’ll be fine and so will you.

  141. One of the greatest gifts you’ve ever given Hailey is that, no matter how afraid you are of something, you don’t let your fear control her life.
    There are too many people out there who use their fear to control other people- most of the time they either don’t know they’re doing it, or they think they can’t help it because anxiety is a monster that eats away at feelings of power and rational thought. (I say this as a fellow GAD sufferer.)
    Your actions tell her that, no matter how you yourself are feeling, you trust her and love her enough to separate your fears from her needs. That is the bravest and most loving thing any parent could ever do.

  142. I hated when my daughter went to overnight camp. HATED it. All my friends were like “high five – the kid’s away” and I was seriously just wishing it was over and she was home. I didn’t even watch horror movies (which I love) while she was away because they intensified my anxiety. Tools to help included positive visioning (imagining the fun reunion pick-up and hugs), sending daily letters (even though we didn’t get many back) and remembering that no news is good news. Best of luck…thinking of you!

  143. The first time my daughter went to camp I cried the first week. I cried bc I thought she would be safer there than at home. It was her first year at diabetes camp. This year, she is going back to work in the kitchen. It was the best tho g we ever did for her. She gets to do all of the cool stuff kids do at camp, without me bugging the snot out of her, and dreaming out about her blood sugar. Hang in there… And eat all of the stuff she doesn’t like while she’s gone.

  144. Jenny, does it help at all to know that you, yes YOU are a hero to many? Or do you secretly dismiss that idea as being the illusions of people who don’t really know you? I ask, b/c that’s what I do when folks say something positive about me. I think, “If you only knew the REAL me…”

    But here’s the thing: that Hailey is as confident, as strong, as healthy as she is is a glowing testiment to your parenting.

    And that’s a huge, huge win.

    I’ve zero doubt that if YOU had to tangle with a bear, you’d have it tending bar, and hiding behind your guest bathroom door. Fuck decals, you’d train the real thing to lunge out at ppl.

    At least your guests would never be constipated, right? Public service.

  145. Look at that stunning young lady. She is so happy, secure and confident! You gave her that!!! You are awesome Jenny, you are an inspiration to me, because like you, I don’t want to pass on my fears and experiences to my daughter. You clearly haven’t. So remember depression lies and anxiety multiplies those lies (by a billion trillion!!). Think of all the awesome craziness you can get up to while Hailey is at camp. You get to show her all the awesome stuff you got done, like a new taxidermied ….. bear??? That would definitely be safe to ride, unless it was a standing one, in which case surround the floor with that soft squishy stuff they put all over playgrounds to stop kids hurting themselves….. Wait, where was I? Oh yes – you are awesome. Stick with that. 😊

  146. You’re not freaking out until after Hailey left shows your inner warrior and she is strong. She’ll do great. My only daughter drove to Texas for chris sakes. By. Herself. Granted she was 22. But it was a gazillion miles away and she slept over for 2 years……she came home better than when she left. You’re doing such a good job as Mom….

  147. I have no doubt that Hailey will LOVE camp. You can stay in touch by sending her letters and care packages. It will make you feel better, too, because in your letter, you can remind her not to ride bears, and if she finds a strange man in a blue box, just make sure he brings her back to the exact same time and place (we know how touchy that machine can be); but first, pop by mom’s for a kiss and a cuddle.

  148. Choosing your inner-Hailey is the ultimate compliment not only to your daughter but also to your fantastic parenting.

    (My bear is at some sleep-away camp in TX, otherwise I’d send him over to you.)

  149. My mother’s favourite saying was, “Hangeth in There.” She was partial to the KJV, obviously. Still, she might just have had it right.

  150. I can relate to you as someone who has deficits (due to Asperger’s my social skills are sadly lacking, so I say and do things, or at least think of saying and doing things that would be terribly misinterpreted. My son, Hailey’s age, is so much more socially aware, and sensitive to others emotions in a way that I can never approach. Thus far in life, my husband has helped interpret and translate the world from normal to me for the last 31 years, but I now can see that if the hubby ever loses it, I have a back up interpreter. I wish it were just a matter of thinking WWMCD? but alas, if I had the proper empathy to figure out what my child would do, I wouldn’t need him. The knowledge of my ineptitude is what keeps me from social situations, and the anxiety that accompanies it. I cannot connect properly with people in person, but I feel like I can connect with you and the Tribe via the itrawebs. Thanks for your honesty and your sharing.

  151. When I was 9, I went to Girl Scout Camp in Texas. I had a pretty normal camp girl experience, until just a few nights before we were supposed to go home. I looked out behind my platform tent, and something with visibly animal eyes was growling. It was quite probably a local dog, but we didn’t have an adult to tell us what was safe to do, and it was scary. I was neither the oldest nor the most experienced camper in our group of four, but I took charge of the other three. I sent them to the front of the tent, tied down the back flaps tightly, and herded the other girls down the path to the nearest counselor. I woke her up, quietly explained the situation, and escorted my newfound charges to the bathroom area while two of the counselors checked our tent out. Once the situation had been handed off to adults, we were all happy and safe and having a grand adventure, concocting fabulous tales of ravening hordes of bears and wolves we’d fight off with our sit-upons.

    But none of that is the important thing. The important thing is what woke in my heart when I looked out at the dark, and I looked back at my frightened tentmates, and I said to myself, “Someone has to handle this, and I can do it. I will get them somewhere safe, and I will find someone equipped to handle this situation.” That is the first time, in my life, that I can remember my own Inner Warrior stepping forward to take control and responsibility. The first time I set my feet on the path, even when I was afraid, and led others because there was not someone else to do it in that moment. It was ten minutes of leadership and decisiveness, in a situation that I admit was most likely to have been a wandering beagle, so a small thing in the context of my life. But it has affected who I am and almost all the choices I have made since, that awakening, because I knew that I was a person who could do that, and knowing makes you mighty. I am now, as a grown woman, most often the ‘someone equipped to handle this situation’ for others.

    I know how foolish it is to tell you not to be anxious about the horsebears, because this is not an anxiety based in reason. But I can tell you that if she is the young woman she appears to be, your daughter will befriend that corral of bears and teach them to bring her their saddles and wait quietly to put them on.

    I hope that Hailey has an opportunity at camp, not to face danger, but to face and embrace her own strength as a Warrior and a woman, and that she carries that power within her as long as she needs it.

  152. Oh lord, I feel you honey. My son left for a week of camp yesterday. The summer camp we’ve sent him to in the past requires FOUR weeks at his age so we found some place else because four weeks was just too much for any of us – two is perfect! But he’s always ALWAYS come back stronger and more mature and more independent. She will make friends and have so much fun that she will forget to miss you. And it you get desperate for photos, refresh, refresh, refresh.

  153. And she will come home with stories of things that she did that will both thrill you and terrify you. And you will continue to be amazed that someone like her came from someone like you. It’s a mom thing.

  154. I think it’s amazing and wonderful that your inner warrior is your daughter. May you draw strength from her confidence.
    P.S. Everything will be fine. Camp is a good thing.

  155. I had a bad breakthrough of anxiety on Thursday – like the first time in 4-5 years.

    But I remembered what you say about “depression lies”, and was able to get out of my own head enough to realize what was happening. I reached out to friends on Facebook, and got an appointment that day with my doctor. Was literally reading my facebook page and your page on my phone in the waiting room like I was holding on to a lifeline as I tried to calm my breathing.

    Now I have an antianxiety med “as needed” and an appointment in 3 weeks to change out the med that let things get to that point.

    So while you may have been hiding under the couch with the zombeavers, on some quantum level you were still holding my hand and helping me get through this.

    So you’re a Quantum Superhero. or something.

    Anyway – thank you

  156. Even moms who don’t have quite the level of “straight to cancer” tendencies that you have,panic. I did. I still do and my kid still calls when he is packing for a trip Europe because I can always “see” what horror he might encounter and tell him what to pack. He is big and brave and when you are signing books in NYC he shows up and gets me a copy, and I panic that he has to take a long bus ride through that scary city. Be kind to yourself.

  157. I love it that Hailey is your inner warrior. What a brilliant way to deal with your fears! Every parent can relate to what you are feeling. My sister just sent her daughter to “Plebe Summer” at the Naval Academy–her daughter just joined the NAVY!!!!–and I don’t know who was more freaked out, my sister or her daughter. And all I could do was try to send calmness via text message. It will all be great, and even if it’s not, she’ll learn a lot, right? That’s what I kept saying. It might not be great, and that’s okay. On the other hand, my two boys absolutely refuse to go to camp. They just refuse. We’ve tried. I’ve done the night-time drive to pick the older one up. The younger one doesn’t even get that far. I would love for them to go to camp. But they don’t want to. I don’t know what their fears are, but I know I just want them to be loved and honored and know that they are heard. And that’s what you are doing for Hailey. By not letting YOUR desires and wishes outweigh hers, you are honoring her. By doing something that is SO HARD for you but that nourishes her, you are hearing her and loving her in the best way possible. Congratulations, awesome mom.

  158. Letting my 16-year-old drive solo today. I feel your pain. Mentally sending you bears, courage, and everything else you need.

  159. along with all of the awesomeness of Hailey and YOU, today i want to also say that Victor is pretty awesome as well. to be able to find a life partner who loves you for you – anxiety and disorders and stuffed mice and all – well…it reminds me that not everyone in this world is superficial and ugly and mean.

  160. My daughter is not at camp, but does have lice and can’t find her shoes, does that help?

    Also, you do realise that you have an inner kick-ass warrior yourself (as must have Victor), how else could Hailey have turned out the way she has?

    PS. The little lice fuckers are actually not that hard to kill, but would be incredibly hard to taxiderm (is that the verb?). If you manage it, maybe you could do a nice little diorama of them and Juanita (she has the same look of exasperation I had after combing through hair for hours).

  161. Hailey, warrior princess. And she’s doing her power pose very naturally! I recommend watching this Ted Talk if you haven’t already. It’s about how our body language affects how we feel (not just the image we want to project.) She recommends actually doing a power pose (just like Hailey – legs firmly planted, hands on hips) when you are going into stressful or anxious situations.

    I tried it and while I felt silly at first, I have to say it worked.

  162. In my experience, bears are much less likely than forgetting to brush your hair for a week and then having to sit there while your mom has to detangle the world’s biggest snarl out of your hair. Since everyone else is sending bears, I’ll send you an hairbrush. If Hailey doesn’t brush her hair, you’ll be ready, and if she does, you can always use it on your new bears.

  163. A. My husband just said, “Ut oh. That crazy lady is making you laugh. You’ll be crying next.” I mentally stabbed him in the temple.

    I am sending my 18 year old to Italy for her first semester of college. Italy. Like the one that is shaped like a boot. So I’ll be watching every horror movie ever made until she returns home safely in December.

  164. You are raising someone awesome enough to be your warrior. You win all the parent points! She will do great, you, well, as long as you do OK….that’s good enough.

  165. First of all, I think you picked the perfect warrior for your role model. She looks and seems absolutely awesome. If you don’t mind, I might occasionally try to channel her also.
    Second, I vaguely recall a story in one of the first Little House books, where Ma went out after dark when Pa was gone, and was surprised to see their cow in the garden. Ma gave it a smack… then suddenly picked Laura up and ran into the house. Because it wasn’t their cow, it was a bear. And evidently it was so shocked that Ma hit it, it didn’t even react. So I’m thinking that your fearless daughter is likely to do just what Ma did, and will probably scare the crap out of the bear, rather than the other way around.
    She’ll be fine. You’ll be fine. And we’ll be here for you until you see her again and know that she’s fine.

  166. I loved camp. I went for several summers. I ended up working there a couple summers. And as far as I know, no one ever got lice there. There was a nurse there, but most of what she dealt with were upset stomachs and homesickness.

  167. I get the freak out. I did it too. It’s understandable. It’s even… dare I say…”normal.” Well, to a degree. When my daughter (who is mildly autistic, has ADHD, Bipolar, and takes meds on a regular basis) went off to camp, I was ready to stow away in her luggage. Unfortunately, I didn’t fit and hubby would let me hide away on the bus. Fortunately, she returned safe and sound. She was better for going and I (eventually) was better for letting her go and having her come back alive. It will be good fit you too. Eventually. But for now, I get it. bearhugs

  168. I think it’s the time of year for depression and anxiety. I was up crying until 4am for no good reason. All of my friends with mental illnesses are having trouble in the past few days.

  169. Yes, hang in there! She looks like she can handle anything that comes her way! I channel my fearless 7 year old daughter too! She is sunshine and forces the rest of us to take a breath and enjoy the moment.

  170. My older daughter loves public speaking, making new friends, and rock climbing. My younger daughter loves gymnastics, and hanging high off the monkey bars. All of these things embody my worst fears, and I am so glad that hasn’t been passed on. I channel my inner warrior woman to get through the day to day horrors and anxieties of life, and my daughters are growing into actual warrior women. We may not have a better planet to pass on to our children, free from discriimination and injustice, but THIS we can do.

  171. Bad news, Jenny, the worry never stops. My 31 year old baby had surgery this morning. All night I dreamed about stabby people and people with guns. Good news, my baby will fine and so will yours!

  172. Sounds like you picked the best warrior. She sounds like an amazing young woman.

  173. Coming from someone who has had every possible position at her summer camp from camper to program director sending Hailey to camp was an awesome decision. Have consoled a coworker in a similar situation recently I understand the anxiety of leaving her. But those “strangers” you dropped her off with are on the way to becoming her life long friends that no matter the distance or time since last spoken will be there for her in a heart beat. Be strong Mama, and in a couple weeks you will find out every detail of what she did (after she catches up on some sleep!)

  174. Most of my favorite childhood memories are from summer camp. And I didn’t have a tenth of the self-confidence Miss Hailey has. Heck yeah, bring on the bears, she’ll ride them and they’ll love her. They’ll be following her around like kittens! Be strong in the knowledge that this amazing young woman is your offspring, she wouldn’t be here without you, your influence and love and compassions and quirks and no-one-else-is-you are as much a part of why she is who she is as Victor’s contributions. My mother survived my brother and me going to camp, and you will too. You’ll be all the stronger for getting through this. I am reminded of the Japanese art of mending broken items with gold that one of the Tribe posted recently, how beautiful something is for having been broken. Your gold shines through.

  175. I love that you’re channeling your inner Hailey. Perfect. I wonder if our kiddos know we learn from them too? 🙂 Stay strong mama!

  176. Every time I read your words I get all tingly inside because it’s like you read my mind 🙂

  177. My girls went to overnight camp for the first time last year (at ages 8 and 10) and had an amazing time. They came home filthy and covered with mosquito bites, and were asking if they could sign up for this year.

  178. I love the phrase ‘lovely relief’. And the fact that Hailey is your inner warrior says so much about you. It says that you are so much stronger than you believe because you and Victor have raised such an amazing girl.

  179. I had an orientation today for a new job. Part of me is freaking out horribly. I’m going to try to do this until (hopefully ) I get a decision in my favor on disability. My poor husband has been working his ass off to keep us afloat. I hope I can do this.

  180. Hailey will have a blast, no doubt. Kudos to you and Victor for raising such a great kid! Best thing you can do these next two weeks is enjoy your freedom. You and your wonderful hubby should have a date night or three. I totally get where you’re coming from, though.

  181. Just think of all the good stories she’ll have to tell when she gets home. Stories about riding bears…

  182. “I’m channeling my inner Hailey” AWESOME! And made me cry. I’ll have to discover my own inner warrior one of these days.

  183. How awesome that Hailey is so strong and confident! Go Blogess family for sending such a fabulous person into our world! It violates copyright, so I can’t post here, but if you go to the new yorker cartoon bank and put “bear” in the search terms you’ll see some great bears. Especially there’s one by a man named Harry Bliss of a bear stealing syrup for his pancakes. SEriously. look for it. I”m absolutely CERTAIN that these are the kind of bears that are around Hailey’s camp, if there are any at all. Hang in there. I know that anxiety is pretty impervious to logic (I have PTSD, so I super know). But it’s so great that you are doing this. You are great.

  184. What an amazing legacy, that you have produced such a well-adjusted and beautiful child. Congratulations, you’ve proved that depression lies.

  185. Are we allowed to borrow a bit of “Inner Hailey” when we need it? I rock my “Inner Jenny” all the time and I think it’d be pretty awesome to be able to put you one one side and Hailey on the other of an inner balance scale and now I wish (again) that I could draw because I have this great vision of you riding a Unicorn and Hailey riding a bear sitting on a balance scale.

    Bear Hugs to you, Jenny!

  186. My own kids are off at camp, and to help me cope I am sending them custom post cards, and creating a silly fictional narrative and dumping my semi wine sodden humor into them. We worked so damn hard to make these humans, and now they just want to go experience life! Selfish (wonderful, amazing) jerks! I am looking my own anxiety in the face, thanking it for sharing its story, and moving on to make this time they are at camp count for me too. It’s a great opportunity for me to push my own boundaries, today consisted of tending the chores I’ve been neglecting, folding laundry, doting on pets, taking a well deserved nap, laughing with my husband. … Tomorrow who knows!

  187. Jenny dear, all will be well. The worry for your kids doesn’t ever really go away though, so use this time to figure out how to deal with it as best you can. If that means day one is horror movies and meds, then so be it. You know Hailey won’t have any problems…that’s why she’s your warrior! Chin up.

  188. OMG, Jenny. Can we hold each other!?!! I, too, have the anxiety. It SUCKS. Today, I left my little boy, 9, with his grandparents for a week. I tried not give him my anxiety and I don’t think I have, except that he’s smart and I wonder if he noticed that I made sure all of my parting words to him would leave him feeling loved when he gets abducted or explodes this week while we’re apart. I’m hoping he didn’t notice me crying and hugging his one-eyed stuffed puppy thinking about how I will start sleeping with it after he dies. And right now, I’m telling myself I’m NOT superstitious. That it is only my anxiety that makes me feel scared to put this in writing. Screw you, anxiety. My baby and I are fine. All is well. All will be well! Right?

  189. Everyone I know who got to go to sleepaway camp (That’s also a horror movie title, don’t watch it!) or work as a counselor at one loved it. At least Hailey’s father isn’t there starting a very public affair with Hailey’s future step monster….. maybe I should look in to medication.

  190. A bear walks into a bar and demands, ‘I want a large rum and ……………………… a coke.’

    George, the barman enquires, ‘What’s with the huge pause?’
    The bear answers, ‘Oh, them, I’ve had them all my life.’

  191. One day Hailey will read those Katy two paragraphs and all warm and fuzzy because she will know just how much you love her and her awesomeness.

  192. It’s admirable that you have so much self-awareness in the way you parent. Clearly you’ve done a great job because Hailey is going to camp and she’s going to have a blast.

  193. Come now, if you came face to face with a bear, you’d try to stuff it and dress it in a tutu, right?

    My kids leave for camp next week. I’m channeling my angst into excessive Target purchasing. Oh, and Amazon purchasing. Thank god that whole Prime Day thing happens after they leave or we’d be broke for good.

  194. Ohhhhh, how I can relate. In six weeks, my little girl leaves for COLLEGE. In fucking PENNSYLVANIA. Which is very, very far away from Texas. So I’m trying not to freak out too much in her presence, but whenever I stop and think about it I have to take about eleventy thousand deep breaths because I. can’t. even. My girl is the bravest, most amazing young woman I have ever known. So, I guess I will take your therapist’s advice and I will channel my inner-Carolyn. Although I might be doing it from the corner of my bedroom and crying just a little bit…

  195. You are wonderful! Hailey is so lucky to have you for a mom. Thank you so much for sharing. You will probably never realize how much you make a difference in the world, but we are all grateful.

  196. Zombeavers had to be one of the best things to ever happen to me. I am so glad you watched it because NOW when you’re sad you just have to hear that bad lounge singer singing “Zommmmmbeaaavers”

  197. Here you go! 🍺🍺🍺
    Oh wait- bear. I thought you said beer! We have beer AND bear in WI 😉

  198. Jenny – I quote you from last year’s summer camp re-cap “FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, LOIS. THIS IS CAMP. GET TOUGH OR DIE.” She’ll be fine… and so will you. Getting ready to send mine off to Marine Biology camp for a week – but it’s day camp and he’s staying with his grandparents. It’s best for him as he suffers from ADD and Anxiety … like his mom… oh and you. 🙂 We love you Jenny. hugs

  199. Don’t mean to point out the obvious, but you have a bear…he’s in your bathroom. 🙂

  200. Jenny, I know this is crazy hard right now, but I think you’re so brave to allow your daughter to go out and do things that scare you. It is so good for both of you. I know you’ll get through this jag and soon be on the upswing. If it helps, I’m 49 years old and still maintain friendships with people I met in summer camp as a child. Treasured times!

  201. Your kid is a rock star. And summer camp is awesome. I only went to day camp and I wish I’d been able to go away to sleep away camp.

  202. Hayley didn’t tell you because she didn’t want to worry you, but she’s secretly been riding bears for YEARS. She is Queen of the Bear Whisperers. So if there are bears she will be fine. Also, bears can swim, so they can keep her safe in the water, and apparently they know something about preventing fires, so basically…she’s got this.

  203. I just gave my last bear to Jen of PIWTPITT because she’s taking her show on the road and needed a bear. But here’s a hug. <<>>. It’s the best I can do. Hailey’s one kick-ass kid, you’ve done an amazing job.

  204. It sucks right now for you, but you’re raising a real hero – and she’ll remember this one day. And one day, she’ll realize what it cost you to let her go long enough to have these experiences. And then she’ll tell you again what a hero you’ve been for her.

  205. One counselor told me to take the negative thoughts in my head and assign them to a tv character. So I picked this guy from Gulliver’s Travels, remember him?

    It helps you see how ridiculous your worries sound, or something like that. Anyway, this is helpful to me.

  206. You know she’s going to leave for college eventually, right? Mine did, the little ingrate!

    Stock up the booze now.

    Just think, you can have sex in the living room again.

  207. As someone, whose mother cried every time I left for more than a night, I commend and congratulate you on being strong for Hailey. Excellent job, mum <3 That’s giving start that will help her have a good camp. You can take pride in that and maybe your inner-warrior-Hailey can feed off that pride.

  208. From one mom to another I am so proud of you. One of the hardest things we ever do is hide our fears and worries so we don’t stop our brave warriors from bear back ridding or whatever activities they do at camp these days. You are amazing and stronger than you know. Keep channeling your inner Hayley. It looks good on you.

  209. I second (bazillitionth?) the person who commended you for saving your freak-out until after Hailey left for camp. (It’s okay of course to let her know you have fears, so she knows it’s okay to have fears of her own.) My mother put me on a cross-country flight every Christmas and some summers from the time I was four (back when you could put a child alone on a trans-continental flight, holding the hand of a stewardess and wearing an “Unaccompanied Minor” sign, in case someone wanted to snatch a guardian-free child) and I must say it shaped me. In a good way.

  210. I grew up going to sleep away camp and I loved it. I was always terrified because I suck at making friends (and have some social anxiety myself), but then I got there and it was great. The longest I was gone in one go was 6 weeks.

    My oldest just went to his first day of day camp. I was a tad worried, but he loved it. Hailey will come back soon and will have gained more independence.

  211. All 3 of my children are at sleep-away camp this week. It’s the second year in a row, and no matter how much I look forward to the week to reconnect with my hubby and NOT have my house & groceries look like Hurricane Kids just blew through (again), leaving them at camp is still hard. Not getting my hugs goodnight is still hard. It’s going to be a fun week for them, and for me, but I will be VERY happy come pick-up day to hear their stories!

  212. Tell Victor to take you on dates. Have some “me” time. Watch a fuck-ton of movies and read a truckload of books.

    And before you know it, she’ll be home.

  213. At moments like this, I like to play “Hercules” by Sarah Barreilles. It reminds me of how we all have our own strengths

  214. I suspect this was often going on with my mother, who suffered from PTSD and anxiety while raising me. Kids are amazing, yay to you for reconizing she is her own strong person. Hugs.
    Also, LeeLoo is a good hero to be.
    And watch Cockneys vs Zombies while your taking care of yourself.

  215. Hailey is going to have an AWESOME time at camp, and you should totally pat yourself on the back for raising such a fearless child in spite of your own fears. You rock, woman.

    I agree with those that say this is just a training run–a few years from now, she’s going to head off to college or move out for whatever she chooses to do in the future, and you don’t want to face that with no time apart ever in the 17-18 years before that. When my little sister moved out, leaving my mom on her own for the first time since, well, ever, she called us every night for months and months.

    Embrace these 2 weeks. Do something you normally wouldn’t/couldn’t do while you have a kid around. Um….well, you know what I mean.

  216. If I may, I feel that you have passed the biggest test of all: you let her go.

  217. I don’t suffer from anxiety, but I was still freaking out a little at my girls going to DAY camp. Will they have fun? Will they miss me? Will they be well behaved? Will the bus crash on the way back from the pool??? UGH.

  218. [IMG][/IMG]

    Please enjoy this crudely photoshopped image of Hailey bareback riding a bear.

  219. You have picked the absolute BEST inner warrior!!! Our kids re so much braver than we even know…. mine has gone off to the Army and I have no idea how he manages the things he does. She will have a great time and you will live through it. Onward inner Hailey!!!!!!!

  220. Commen 195, Rowan, read her story because that’s what camping can do for you, that’s what your daughter can and will do, and that’s why you’ll have your anxious two weeks…for me, camping was a life changer in terms of growth, leadership and responsibility (and a lot of fun adventures along the way)…hang in there, Moms across the country feel the exact same way (and you can call and ask questions – send cookies or candy or something to the staff and no one will care, I promise) ;-)…hang in there!

  221. I totally understand how you feel jenny. Even though my two boys are in their 20’s I remember how scary it was when they went to sleepover camp for the first time (I meant for me not them!). It still takes me a few days to calm my anxious brain every time they take off on a new adventure. Now my oldest is in school in Canada and he is “required” to check in with me when I text him every few days so I know he’s not laying dead on the side of the road somewhere! But seriously don’t we want them to be happy and independent?

  222. The time I went to camp stands out among the very best of my memories. And I was a shy kid. It was a great experience that helped me grow. While it sounds like Hailey will have no problem figuring that out, just wanted to let you know that 🙂

  223. Instead of Zombeavers (which isn’t nearly as awesome as it sounds), you should watch some camp movies like Meatballs, Little Darlings and (my personal favorite) Poison Ivy. (Color War has begun!) I’m quite familiar with the awfulness of anxiety and I’ve found that mindfulness meditation is a huge help. It’s a bit of a slow process and I’ve only been doing it for a few months, but I’m having some good results. It really seems to help with remaining focused on reality rather than the horror stories that my mind seems so eager to create and have me believe. The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris is the most helpful book I’ve read on it so far. Your daughter will be fine, btw. I bet that 99% of the stuff you’ve freaked out over in the past has never even happened. Good luck to you.

  224. If we’ve learned anything this week, it’s that Hailey can build a robot army of horse-bears and take over the camp if she wants. Camp is hoping she’ll use her powers for good!

  225. Everything will totally be fine. And Zombeavers really is awful. Except for the theme song.

  226. My daughter leaves for college next Fall. My anxiety is intermittent which means I have about 25 Xanax to get me through the rest of my life. I suspect my husband might be stockpiling some in anticipation of Fall 2016. I may have to start blogging again to cope.

  227. You are in good hands with Hailey as your inner warrior. And we are all very proud of you.

  228. I haven’t seen Zombeavers, but something tells me that you might like ‘Black Sheep,’ the New Zealand zombie sheep movie.

    Keep breathing, Jenny! You are so strong (anyone who can fight off crippling anxiety day by day is really a superhero), and you have raised a daughter who is courageous and quirky and compassionate and a real credit to her courageous, quirky, compassionate mum. Sending you much virtual lavender lemonade and lavender-honey cupcakes!

  229. Your daughter is amazing. And you are amazing. And you picked exactly the right inner warrior to channel. JUST THINK, YOUR INNER WARRIOR IS GOING TO GET TO STAY OVERNIGHT AT CAMP AFTER ALL THESE YEARS!

  230. Camp is a wonderful opportunity where Hailey will make some new friends and learn some new stuff. I loved camp so much as a kid that I still volunteer every year as a counselor. I can assure you that the strangers you left her with will not be strangers for long. You love your daughter and worrying for her is a sign of that love.
    Hailey is a total bad ass warrior and I think it’s great that you’re channeling her strength during your time apart. I would send you a bear too, but I’m not a talented enough cyber stalker to do that. For now, please settle for good vibes and virtual hugs.

  231. I was sent to summer camp every year. On the first day of camp, they gave everyone a snake bite kit and showed us how to use it in case anyone got bit by a rattlesnake. The first rule was to not run screaming away from the snake, which was a pretty stupid thing to say, because, duh, that’s what we all planned to do. The snake-bit kid was certain to die. No one ever got bit, or even saw a rattlesnake, so I think the camp counselors were just hazing the kids. I’m still alive, as are all my siblings who went to camp. Haley will be better than fine when she gets home. Camp is a wonderful adventure.

  232. For a woman with a wicked sense of humor, you also have the unique ability to share your pain in ways that resonate in our souls. Thanks for showing the Mommy in me that is okay to be terrified for my babies, and to let them grow past my level of expertise in worldly endeavors.

  233. You don’t relate to She-Hulk? I mean apart from the lawyer thing, which I get…I would have thought that the fact you’re Jenny and you’re the Bloggess would make you understanding about dual identities and breaking out of patterns and that experience making you stronger. (I had to look up some of the stuff about She-Hulk, but not all…which is a little disturbing, now that I think about it.)

    But Hailey is a good choice too.

  234. I think it’s great that you don’t let your anxiety hinder you from letting Hailey explore the world. I think she will have a great time and YOU will feel great knowing that she did. I love your blog and how you real you are about everything. I know “stay strong” is cliche but you can do it!

  235. The first thing that came to mind when I finished was this:


    Please remember that you have a life crippling anxiety disorder and abody crippling immune disorder. Yet you are still around, kicking ass in every way you can and helping others to do the same from the safety of your angry bear guarded bathroom. All I’m saying is that Hailey clearly got her strength from both of her parents. Everything will be fine.

  236. Hailey DEFINITELY has the warrior pose COVERED! Stand in her power, Mama KNOWING you’ve raised one amazing, powerful, brilliant girl!

  237. It feels almost blasphemous, reading your eloquently expressed post and then typing out this poorly-worded response, but I need you to know that we are all proud of you. I believe that you (and Hailey, of course) will be just fine. (: Good luck, and stay brave!

  238. I love your tough chick! Being who she is, it looks like you have an incredible gift being that you created that Rebel. Good job!!

  239. I love the love that you have for your daughter. It’s like, I never realized how much my mom loved me until I had babies, and then I was like, “oh!”

    Someone once tried to teach me how to dance. They told me to be confident and channel my inner Beyoncé or someone else I admired. I thought a bit, and picked Tina Fey…because girl can’t dance but she doesn’t mind looking like a fool so long as everyone is having fun.

  240. I was a sleep away camp counselor for three years. I adored it. I loved watching parents come to pickup and be absolutely stunned by how their daughters were more confident, standing taller, and full of stories. I loved the amazing moment of realization that they had raised an awesome kid and she had taken a huge step for herself.

    I loved those girls. I would have done anything for them. I wasn’t their mom, but we were all highly aware that we had people’s babies. We let them explore and flounder and reach far, but they did it together and with support.

    Now that I have my own kids, I will join you in that fetal position at the idea of them leaving, but I hang on to my own childhood and counselor days and remember how life changing it was for me. Hopefully you can borrow from us. It won’t all be good, but the sum total will be awesome.

  241. Yes. Your inner Hailey. Everything really will be OK. Because you raised her. You did that!! I cannot even imagine what hell you go through at times like this, but I hope the worst of it subsides quickly xo

  242. I spent a good hour scouring the Internet for the perfect bear picture to bring you endless joy, but then Fluffygirl up there went and posted the most glorious effin’ picture of a bear known to mankind, and my efforts were rendered useless.
    Dammit, Fluffygirl! Why are you so brilliant?!?

  243. You are making me appreciate how chill my own parents were when I started racing motorcycles at age twelve…

  244. She is the picture of confidence! I’d use her as my inner warrior, too, if I were you! You make good people. Nicely done. 🙂

  245. When my son was seven, I bought him a book called The Little Book of Worst Case Scenarios, so that he would know how to survive a bear attack or what to do if the car he was in drove into a river. He’s 17 now and I still freak when he goes to the store around the corner by himself. Despite my anxieties, he’s not afraid of the world the way I am. He is definitely my warrior:-)

  246. Awww….poor poor… anxiety sucks! She will be fine. She will come back exhausted by with a million gross stories to tell you about what she did at camp. She and you will live through this.

  247. Love you, Jenny. I have a lot of anxiety, too, and you should know that it’s really helped me to read your stories and understand that I’m not alone. I worry about my kids way too much, too, so I know it’s hard. My kids are currently visiting relatives for an unspecified length of time! Just until someone gets sick of them, I guess. 🙂 It’s only been a week but I already miss them like crazy. I know your daughter is strong and will be fine, and so will you. You have hundreds of people sending you positive thoughts. <3

  248. I understand how you feel. Maybe they should have camps for mature adults with anxiety disorder. Kind of like Bear Grylls adventure. Its going to be a long night though.

  249. Anxiety sucks and lies as much as depression. But I don’t have an inner warrior either so like you I’m going to channel my child. My oldest was brave and fearless and so full of life.

  250. My goodness, I’m just crying. . . Your inner Hailey indeed. Everytime I feel broken and overwhelmed, I can always see your ability to shift perspective. It’s a real gift.

    My daughter struggles with Anxiety and the past two years have been rough for her and for me. And I see her now growing more confident and I’m so proud of her, for things no one else I know even considers tough like when she orders for herself or says hello to a classmate she hasn’t seen for awhile. Today I picked her up from her first day of Theater camp, with much trepidation that it was going to be rough and she said “It was awesome”

    FWIW you are far from being alone in having your child’s first sleep away camp be really really hard.

  251. I love this picture! Especially since I’m reading your book and I just got to the part where you had such a difficult time before she was born and I just want to say that even though you’ll worry, she’s a beautiful and seemingly confident girl who will have a fantastic time at camp. That won’t stop you from worrying of course but hopefully we can all distract you with funny memes.

  252. And I should clarify that the picture I was referring to was the picture of Hailey. That’s the one I love. The cat one is just silliness.

  253. Also the way it reads, it’s like I’m implying that you gave birth to that cat in the picture above. I did not mean to imply that. I really should have looked it over before I posted it but… yeah… I did not.

  254. Hailey will be fine. She’s tough. The bears should be afraid of her. For you I recommend chocolate. It works against Dementors, so it should be good for anxiety, right? (Of course right.)

  255. My twin 11-year old daughters leave for Europe… tomorrow… For three weeks… For the first time ever… Without me…

    I send commiseration.
    And sock puppets.
    Of Hailey.
    At home.
    With you.
    In two weeks.

    I also have wine.
    And a blanket.
    And space on my couch.

    We got this! I think… 🙂

  256. Although I don’t have a kid, and I have never sent one off to camp. I do know that with anxiety, and depression.. Life can seem more chaotic than you thought. You’re doing great! And the thing is, is she can teach you as much as you can teach her.. Along the way. You’re not alone! And us anxiety ridden humans will stand with you.. We have to stretch ourselves thin, but it helps us grow. Be strong, you’re even stronger than you think.

  257. Remembering when I took my oldest daughter to her first camp. I took a first aid kit, even though there was a Doctor and at least a couple of Nurses at camp :). Oh the things I could have thought about. Now she goes off to college every year. I think this is her last Summer home.

  258. You and Victor have raised a strong and intelligent young lady. Right now she’s having a fabulous time and making wonderful new friends. She will be fine and you are an amazing mother for letting her be who she needs to be despite your fears. Please try to get some good sleep if you can.

  259. Isn’t parenting terrifying? My daughter’s 23 and I still want to wrap her in bubble wrap and never let her leave home. Especially since she’s fearless, like your darling Hailey. Have you considered a medically- induced coma for 2 weeks? At the very least, do not watch the news until she’s back home.

  260. I come bearing bears since you bared your bear request. They will be bare bears to match the one in the bathroom. And because I don’t intend to try to put pants on a bare bear.

  261. Before I turned it to an adult and my anxiety took over making afraid of everything and nothing every summer I would go to Girl Scout camp. I think back on all the stuff I would do in this weeks away from home stuff that grown up me is to afraid of or to sick to do. But little bitty Toia dove into head first, even when she was a little bit scared. Camp is good for kids even when your whole tent get in trouble for pranking everyone by saying there where snakes in you tent. Because it where I first realized I couldn’t tell a ghost story because I got to involved in world building. I was destined to be a writer even at 7 but it didn’t win me any love they just wanted ghost stories. I have great memories of camp I think it’s great for kids to discover things about their capabilities.

  262. Here’s a bear. Possibly your kind of bear if you like bears that are little and wear dentures.

  263. I think you picked a perfect warrior! My daughter has been mine for years & has really helped (even if she doesn’t know it)!

  264. Sometimes I think anxiety only gets worse with age. That, or you just think that RIGHT NOW is the worst moment in THE HISTORY OF EVER so you don’t remember how bad it was unless it derailed something major.
    Basically I totally empathize, and I’d be a wreck. My daughter is a lot like I was as a kid… which sometimes worries me. And maybe all parents do this… But I’m always stuck feeling torn between telling her it’s okay to have feelings, and it’s okay to opt out of things that are too scary (I HATED being forced to do things that scared me as a kid. Especially roller coasters and climbing the stupid rope in gym class)… And the worry that if I don’t push her a little, she’ll miss out, she won’t have as much fun, or she’ll get her heartbroken the moment I’m away by merciless children, so I want to warn her… I want her to be braver and stronger than me… But it’s so hard to do that without revealing my own fears.
    I have to fake being strong, and it’s really hard and sometimes feels like such a charade.
    But I’m MOM, the title of a superhero, so I have superpowers. I have the power to make rules, and dinners, and reboot the tablet when it crashes.
    I may not be the Mom my kids always WANT, but I do my best to be the Mom they NEED.

    This was rambling. but hang in there. She will come home and she will hug you and smile. And that’s when you sit up and hug her and say “I’m so glad you had fun! I knew everything would be okay.” because it’ll make her feel braver, and it’ll make her less worried about you.

  265. Over 30 years has come and gone and I STILL remember going to camp. She will have a BLAST and make wonderful memories. I hope she laughs so much that she pees in her pants like I did!! THAT is a FUN time a person never forgets!! Come to think of it, when IS the last time I laughed so much that I peed in my pants? May you pee in your pants today!! T:)

  266. As a kid I personally hated to go on camps because “the unknown”.
    As far as horrormovies, zombeavers indeed is aweful. Still had nightmares from it though.

  267. Watching her leap at life has to bring great joy to you. Live on that feeling for a bit. Then, if you have to, walk circles in your house. It helps. Trust me.

  268. Hailey sounds like a great role model for us all. Prayers for your anxiety, and if all else fails try pulling a Harry Potter on those nightmares & turn the lava into spaghetti or something fun.

  269. Deep breaths worked for me when my eldest went to summer camp the first time. The hard one was when my baby, at 17, went to Rangers about 600 miles away for the summer. She didn’t want to go but later admitted it was the best thing for her. It helped her go away for collage and then move to the other end of the country on her own. Deep breaths and wine.

  270. Jenny, you’re awesome, and Hailey is awesome too. I feel for you because holy fercucklecakes it’s scary to raise kids. You’re doing so many wonderful things for her.

    I have some helpful links for you.

    You may’ve seen this one. 16 puppies in the household.

    This one is Japan being Japan (a music video, two Japanese teenage girls plus a 20+ white guy who has a beard, growls the lyrics, wears the same outfits as the girls and does the dances with them).

    This one is a VERY NSFW vine and good god this guy looks SO HAPPY.
    I laugh over and over like the mature person I am when I watch it.

    Take care, Jenny. You’re doing great.

  271. Kids are so much more resilient than we are. When I was 9 I was already packed up and ready to get my own crappy apartment in a bad neighborhood. Now as a dad, I’ll probably be following my kids around even when they’re 40 and get restraining orders against me.

  272. I am the exact opposite. I sent my kids off and didn’t give them another thought until we picked them up. Get a life!

  273. Maybe you can ride the guest bathroom bear?
    That is totally my coping mechanism too (binge watching in general, usually something I have seen already and love. Yesterday was 2/3rds of Hannibal season 1, which I realize is a weird comfort ritual.)
    Hailey is young and inexperienced, but she gets her strength from you and Victor (you are just older and more experienced in the ways the world can mess stuff up, which combines with anxiety to blow your brain up, metaphorically, with fear) so channeling your inner Hailey is extra good because you’re relying on yourself!
    Smother is being a dick.

  274. OK so
    1. you’re freaking out for the wrong reason. Mild to severe panic attacks should happen daily when you realize your kids wont stop getting older and more independent.
    2. how are we totally skipping over the zombeaver thing?
    3. When wine/liquor slushies are readily available then there should be no worries in the world.
    4. Lets be honest, there’s a good chance that Hailey has already ridden the bathroom bear.

  275. The best wisdom comes from camp: “For Christ’s sake, Lois, this is camp! Get tough or die.” Also, remember that anxiety is just an emotion, and all emotions pass. You’ll have another one in a while. Probably dread. But you will have survived the anxiety.

  276. I feel you. Two weeks ago I put my sixteen year old daughter on a plane. To Thailand. For a year. And as a mom it was soooo hard! But as a former foreign exchange student myself I know she will learn and grow so much. And I will too. And you will too!! Sending lots of hugs.

  277. I am the same way… not so much about the 14 year old as I am about the 6 year old. I was that way with the 14 year old until she broke me of it… now he will have to do the same. When I was 8 I was flying from NY to FL alone. At 15 I was changing planes in Boston…alone… I cant imagine my child doing that! So for her first flight I paid an extra $300 for someone to hold her hand on a non stop flight and make sure that my aunt showed her ID to pick her up. I plan to take the day off and sit in my living room with a bowl of chips and salsa till I get the call that she has been delivered. You will be ok… because our kids are so much better than we are!

  278. Jedi-hugs to you Jenny. I’m sure that Hailey will be fine, and will have a million stories to tell when she gets back. I’m also sure that your tiny inner warrior (because you have one, she’s just not very big right now, and is maybe playing hide and seek) is going to get a bit bigger by the time Hailey comes home, and YOU’LL have a million stories to tell her. Your inner-Hailey has a lot to teach your inner warrior, but that’s awesome because you’ll have TWO inner-helpers!

  279. My oldest kid is 14. My youngest is 11. And it’s like I spend 28 hours a day in a near panic of ‘How am I going to manage to fuck them up today?’

    All of the jedi-hugs. Parenting is hard enough without having to deal with severe anxiety on top of it all.

  280. You will prevail! There is oodles and oodles of odd horror out there – have you seen sharktopus or sharknado? Maybe your dollhouse pool needs a few inhabitants? Craft away! Being creative helps me manage stress.

  281. Come on you can do this! Grab all your old Friday the 13th movies, fall in love with Jason all over again……… And before you know it they’re back home and all excited and smelling like three day old dead fish stored in my son’s shoes………

  282. Sending your sweet baby to camp will help her become an even more amazing and independent woman than you’re already teaching her to be. While she’s gone enjoy date nights with Victor- even if it’s just popcorn and an old movie you love. You might just learn to look forward to her going to camp each summer.

  283. She’s going to have the time of her life! If kids died at camp, they’d shut camp down.

    You are an amazing mom for letting her go and hiding your fears and letting her grow up and letting her be her own person. There are many moms in your situation that would cry and fret and make their kids feel horrible about going and having fun at camp. You are a hero for loving Hailey enough to let her try things you are afraid of. And that’s true courage too. You should be very proud!

  284. I think it’s truly awesome that the warrior you want to be is the warrior you created, you are an amazing lady.

  285. This is a mom thing. The anxiety part is just pushing it to a new level of scariness for you.
    Let me show you. I don’t have the overwhelming anxiety you do, but I did this the first time my son was away from me overnight.

    The first time my husband took my son camping, he was 4 and I wasn’t trusting enough of their survival skills, despite them watching The Walking Dead together (and Zombeaver was soooo bad I had to leave the room). I wrote on his foot in sharpie…black sharpie…his name and my phone number and repeatedly told him if he was lost from his dad to find a ranger or mommy or biker and show them his foot – but to NOT tell his dad I had written on his foot.He kept my secret, but the hubbs found out when they went swimming..was not happy w me when he got home, and lil dude didn’t and has not gotten lost in all the times I have let them go…yes let them go. Now I encourage it as they come back safe and sound, and I get to binge watch TV in peace and quiet, take a shower alone, and have a clean house until they get home.

    I applaud your bravery in the face of crippling fear. I cried at Hailey being your role model for a warrior and one day she will too. I am bear hugging you virtually, cause I don’t know your address and you likely have security in the form of rabid foxes or snakes on your porch.

    Here are bears in a knife fight.

    Feel free to wallow in the anxiety as much as you need to…or not – not our place to do anything other than say we support you and try to make you smile a little through the sadness.
    Either way, Hailey will come back happy as can be and you will get through this.

    And “Smother”…you are an asshole of epic proportions.

  286. She will have so much fun, and learn a little bit more how to be her own person.

    And you will burst with pride over how well your little girl did. 🙂

    (It is so encouraging to hear about your warm family. Its awesome to hear Victor’s responses to your anxiety.)

  287. You’re braver than I am, I haven’t managed to send any of my four children to sleep away camp yet, and the oldest is 13. maybe I should consider it for next year, and give myself plenty of time to come to terms with it. If you can do it, so can I.

    In the meantime, hang in there, Jenny. We are all here with a virtual hug for you.

  288. I hope you’re able to access the logical part of your brain that tells you that she’ll be fine. But I completely understand the utter panic about sending her off and her being gone. I experience the same kinds of things, but to a milder extent about my kids, and to a greater extent about other things… Channeling your inner warrior is a great idea. Thanks, The Bloggess’s therapist! I’ll have to choose one myself. <3

  289. Forgive me for asking, but did you really suggest calling the camp to make sure they haven’t accidentally replaced the horses with bears? I laughed, and then I felt bad because it’s mean to laugh when someone is afraid their child might go bearback riding.
    I wish I were Hailey.
    I need to find my inner Hailey.

  290. You are a lovely mother and a strong one. You made me smile-cry with this post because I know exactly how you feel. I look at my daughter and wonder – HOW??? How did she get so damn brave???

  291. Channel your she-warrior of a child and breathe:). I have a friend who once drove to a sleepover to pick up her daughter at 1 a.m. b/c of her own anxiety. Daughter was mortified and neighbor never spoke to her again. You’re choosing the sane option. Really.