I’ve been out of sorts. Not myself. A little distracted. My kids left for camp today. I won’t see them, hear them, hug them, kiss them, yell at them for 2 weeks. For the last 2 days I’ve been running around trying to pack all the necessary things they need to replace my love…err…I mean…to survive in the woods. We packed and labeled all 1,000 items. We talked about appropriate vs. inappropriate behavior (telling jokes, appropriate. burping jokes, not appropriate.)
So the boy said goodbye to the cat, the girl said goodbye to her phone – and they were ready.
I’ve been pretending to be really excited and happy – and I am. A little. But I’m also insanely, out-of-my-mind nervous for them. I’ve had a sick, twisted feeling for days. This can’t be right. Dropping your kids off in the middle of the wood with no electricity to total strangers? I must be nuts. I’ve been trying to talk to my husband about it but he’s too busy looking up all the movies we’re going to see and restaurants we’ll be trying. I always knew I loved them more.
In defense of my husband’s total lack of freak out, I’ll say this - he went to camp his whole childhood. He loved it – went with all the his cousins and stayed for weeks. Now here’s a shocker. I did not. I stayed home all summer and caught up on General Hospital and Family Feud. The closest I came to camp was a job as a counselor one summer – but that was for a long weekend and I was 18.
A girlfriend of mine told me about a New York Times article on “parental campsickness”. I read the piece. I fit every broad generalization they made. I’m a cliché. I don’t care.
I have been trying very hard not to make the kids nervous and anxious with all my issues – so I decided to focus on the positive (they’ll have so much fun I’ll have to drag them out of camp!) and not the negative (there are 2,867 ways to die in the woods, really).
I decided to write the kids letters they could read on the first night at camp – filled with advice, love and dried tears.
And off we went.
The camp was beautiful – the girls on one side of the lake – and the boys on the other.
The first camp challenge: you must learn to pronounce your camp names! Good luck with that.
The kids found their cabins and met their groups – and I held it together almost the whole time.
This is what I found on the kitchen table when I got home. The letters I was supposed to sneak to the counselors so the kids could get mail tonight at dinner. Typical. Keepin’ it real.