The first year that Tod and I were together, his week away at camp with his students was painful for sure. We were just getting to know each other and the time apart seemed to hamper that growth and discovery. The year was 1996, and I was getting ready to say good bye to my first group of students that spent four years with me at Columbia Central H.S. It was a bittersweet year on many levels, personal, professional, and emotional. I was on shaky ground as I had come out of a loveless four year relationship with the Latinowhoshallnotbenamed and that, coupled with the uncertainty of where I was going to live, who I was going to live with, and a whole host of other issues made his week away a nightmare.
I remember driving into Camp Storer to visit Tod that first year, probably one of my first times since leaving in 92 and I was feeling many different emotions. I wasn’t really missing the work, as it was a lot of physical work for not a lot of pay. I still have my W2 from my first year there in Outdoor Ed and it’s only about $1000 after taxes. But I missed the people I worked with. This was my first professional cohort and I have built some strong friendships from my brief time there after college. I was so happy to see Tod that first year, and we stole away to the nature trail across the street from the camp so we could steal a kiss and talk. We were like to school kids trying to hide from the chaperones at a dance, but in this case, we were hiding from his students and their gossipy mouths. As anyone remembers, those first few years are magic as you get to know someone in a deep personal relationship. Subsequent years had me helping him pack and get his stuff to the car as the trip to camp usually coincided with my end of classes at JCC, which, coupled with him being gone and having to deal with the house and pets made for a logistical nightmare. Toss in Anna Laura in 06, ten years later, and the troops had to be called in to help make the week at camp work with graduation, portfolio reviews, and the final art show.
Is that magic gone from those first years? Hell no. Each day is a trip with us now that we have our own family 13 years later. Each day has its own special wonder and insanity. I will miss Tod while he is gone, but the doubt that plagued my mind back in 96 is gone. I have a great man who loves me; I have a great home with two mildly insane pets and the kid of my dreams. But as we used to say at camp: “how can we miss you if you never leave?”
Hurry home Tod.