It's no secret that I have a lot of self-doubt/self-consciousness, which actually is the entire reason for this blog.
This week, I've been feeling insecure and weird about a big expensive decision I made. One that's hard to justify to my husband, even, much less my friends here in Alaska.
A week ago, I sent my 9 year-old daughter away from the Alaskan wilderness, into different New England wilderness, by herself for an entire month, at great personal expense and effort. It's not something most parents do on the west coast, although it's common back east. Fortunately, Paige had a month of Alaska summer here before we flew to Boston last week, but I definitely questioned what I was doing.
Why were we doing this, again? It all seemed a bit ridiculous.
Then I remembered that I was just trying to give Paige something that is hard to put into words, and impossible to pin down on a map. In truth, the thing that was the most important aspect of my entire childhood: I wanted Paige to go to the sleep-away camp I went to as a kid and had worked at as a young adult.
Being there gave me a sense of self-confidence and made me feel like I could do anything. I made some of the best friends of my life there and fell in love there. I had structure and freedom at the same time, with no electronics except music, all day every day, for two months a year. Camp gave me a love of hiking and being outside that is probably the reason I live in Alaska in the first place. (Paige doesn't need that last part, of course).
The rest of that stuff isn't, necessarily, quite as easy to come by just anyplace.
In the internet age, the camp posts photos online, and each day I look for proof of life. I find more than that. Paige looks genuinely happy in every picture. I feel like I can tell the difference between a real smile and a fake one, and her smile is not FAKE NEWS.
I feel weird and awkward about sending Paige to New Hampshire from Alaska for such a big part of the summer, but when I see her face, I genuinely feel like it was the right thing to do.