Girl, Uninterrupted

Yesterday was “International Day of the Girl”. Did you know that? I didn’t. I thought it was “International Day of the Conference Call”.

CNN.com asked some of the most impressive women in the world what they’d tell their 15-year-old self. I won’t tell you how many times I tried to link that article to this post and failed. Just know that I tried.  WordPress is getting under my nerves. I digress.

Here’s what I would tell my 15-year-old self if I could:

  • Even though they are driving you crazy right now – your family will be the most important thing in your life.
  • Although you’ve been plotting to get the hell out of Pennsylvania – in about 20 years you’ll be back – and love it.
  • Be kind to everyone. You have no idea what they are going through.
  • In 4 years you’ll meet the man you’ll spend the rest of your life with. Sorry. It won’t be David Canfield. You’ll do much better.
  • Go get your eyebrows waxed. Today. Now.
  • All the reasons you think you’re goofy, dorky and weird will be all the reasons why people love you. Lighten up.

Not as eloquent as Melinda Gates or Oprah – but there you have it.

I couldn’t find a picture of myself at 15 – but here’s one that’s close enough. Yes, that’s a maroon velvet vest I’m wearing. There may or may not have been a matching skort on the bottom.

Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah

Letters! We got letters from both kids!  One was fantastic – and one makes my heart hurt. Guess who wrote which?

Here’s my daughter’s letter – full of honesty and excitement and positive thinking.  I did so good with her.  My husband played a part too, I guess. She commented on the food because I’ve been asking in all my letters. I need to know!  I plan on giving her 1,000 kisses when she gets home.

Now for the other letter.  My boy must have had a tough week.  My husband read the note and laughed – hard. I read the note and felt sick to my stomach. I read the note and felt like driving to get him that very second.  I read the note and had some wine.

Only 3 things kept me from scooping him out of camp today and tucking him into bed with me:

1) the letter was sent on Tuesday. I’m hoping things got better and happier.

2) homesickness is common among campers the first few days, it’s normal, it doesn’t mean he feels unloved, abandoned and alone.

3) my husband wouldn’t let me go get him.

Here’s his letter.  Notice the line about crying.  Twice.  Lord. Help. Me.

(not sure what he means by losing his “hamper” and that I’ll have to wash the clothes? sob sob)

Camp Sob Sob

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.