My kids loved camp.
L-o-v-e loved it.
They started out as campers
and ended as counselors and program directors
nearly a decade later.
Somewhere around sophomore year in college
it was time to break up with camp.
Ben got there a few years later.
Bittersweet for both,
The same is true for any relationship –
friends, school, homes, jobs, lovers.
The time to leave is when it’s bittersweet.
If you stay beyond bittersweet,
you’ve stayed too long.
I still have fond memories of all
but one job
I’ve ever had.
The one that lodges dark in my mind
with only bitter anger and disappointment
is because I stayed well beyond
when good sense
and integrity should have told me to leave.
And that was just after a year.
I had my reasons,
but even that should have had
me make a move sooner.
Similarly, I’ve stayed friends
with most of the men I’ve dated
mainly because one of us
had the presence of mind
while we could still see –
if we squeezed our eyes tight–
the person we fell in love with
on the other side of the table.
Bitter, but oh so sweet.