JUST TO LET YOU KNOW….. While there are some parents who still subscribe to the theory of trampling over others in an effort to be the first to snatch up their children on Visiting Day and smother them with hugs, kisses and enough candy to put the entire camp into a diabetic coma, it is not my rule of DUMB thumb.
You see, it’s now my fifth time at the rodeo and my thoughts about those who wanna sprint to the soccer field is simply this:
I’ll never forget our second or third Visiting Day when my kids saw me coming; even though I could decipher the look that clearly meant we’re totally psyched to hang with our Mom, it also coincided with the look, don’t even think about running onto this field to hug us while we’re playing ball. In that moment the Nike® motto was more like, Just Don’t Do It!
Though Visiting Day is technically only six hours, it more accurately feels like six hundred long, hot, damp, sticky, smelly, unstructured, boring, did I already say hot? hours.
So when the bugle blows and parents take their marks to get ready, set and GOOOO I will happily give up the inside lane and allow them an edge to race to what clearly isn’t the finish line, but more notably the beginning of what is arguably the longest, most dragged out day of the entire summer. G’head freaks, run your asses off. I’ll be over here anchoring the light stroll leg of the race praying I come in last just to help chip away the time which somehow always stands still on Visiting Day.
Yup, so I said it. It’s overrated. Visiting Day sucks.
By 10:45am I’m in full blown twitch mode because I can’t believe it’s only 10:45am. I’ve already watched the boys play in their leagues, been to their respective bunks and refereed them divvying up the loot I grabbed from aisle number crap at CVS. I’ve also managed with unpolished success I might add to dodge saying hello to random parents whom I’m supposed to know by now but I have no clue not only what their names are but which kid belongs to them. Let us also not forget the as expected bickering which began hours ago somewhere between Warrior Path and the Milk Pagoda.
What time is it? I say silently to myself.
During the non-summer months, the question when’s lunch? is repetitively asked by my kids. On Visiting Day, we engage in role reversal with me as the lead. “Whennnn can we eat lunch?” I beg to know in my filthy, sweaty, half out of breath voice.
Shockingly, I’m not even that hungry I’m just starved for something specific to do. The second the dining room opens I’m game for a plateful of this seems like the perfect shady spot to park ourselves down and not move. I’m willing to go back for thirds if it means we can stay put a while longer so I can clip fingers and toes before dessert.
“Hey I know what we can do. Let’s call the Grandparents,” I say with enthusiasm because the good news is we’ve got three sets to reach so we’re bound to knock off a huge chunk of time! I’m holding on to what little faith I have the cell signal will be decent enough to avoid any of the Grandparents from saying sixteen times, “What? Are you there? We’re breaking up. I can’t hear you.”
It’s gotta be at least 2:30pm by now. I moan silently to myself.
Nope. 12:38pm. Swell.
After an inappropriately loud sigh, I know we have to rally or I might die on the front lawn. “Okay gang. Who wants to play tennis? Should we shoot hoops? Do you want to show me the arts and crafts area? And what about fencing? Last year we forgot to check those out.”
“Mom, we don’t do arts and crafts. Or fencing.” My kids reply practically in unison. “Never been to fencing once.” They continue.
I don’t know if it’s the heat fucking with my brain but at this point I start to imagine making a list of all the activities the kids don’t participate in and then legit, I imagine myself asking the Camp-Powers-That-Be if I can get a financial credit!
“Mom, did you say hi to the directors yet? They’re right over there,” one of my kids ask.
When I turn my attention to over there, I’m perplexed noticing what looks like more like a disarrayed deli counter line at the supermarket. Do you need to take a number? Am I hallucinating or did I actually overhear another parent say to someone, “how long is the wait?” I guess I really lucked out earlier in the day having already said my royal hellos to Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Pittsfield before the crowd rushed in.
If I was in charge of Visiting Day this would be the portion of the program called Parental Appreciation. We’d be corralled into an air conditioned lounge, served glasses of chilled Rosé and given the opportunity to binge watch The Handmaid’s Tale without having to pay for Hulu.
If that doesn’t sound better than an afternoon of schlepping up and down the same hill twelve times, what about having an Unpolished Visiting Day Raffle? Each parent buys raffle tickets upon entering main campus in the morning and the day ends with a live auction where prizes include but are not limited to new uniforms, discounted airfare and hotel deals for the folks who have to fly up for the six hour stint, half price on back and forth delivery of the trunks and the grand slam giveaway of the day: FREE TUITION FOR NEXT SUMMER!
Obviously, I’m not in charge of the Visiting Day itinerary.
Who wants ice cream for the fifth time?
It’s incomprehensible the day isn’t over yet.
“Guys, let’s get a picture; here’s the camp photographer.” No reply from the peanut gallery. “Guys, let’s get a picture; here’s the camp photographer,” I say again while deliberately ignoring their lack of interest. “Guys, c’mon. Seriously, what’s the big deal? Tween whining ensues which now prompts me to kick it up a notch out of principle alone. “Okay, no, that’s not good. Oh wait, can you take another with the lake in the background. How about one more? C’mon guys, stop fidgeting. Don’t hit him. I said smile, not smirk. It’ll be good; ya know…. for the Bar Mitzvah montage.”
Four seconds later:
OMG Did I just say that? For the Bar Mitzvah montage? What is wrong with me? I think I’m having a paranormal episode and Fran Drescher is taking over my body. Someone please say it’s 3:00pm and get me out of here!
That time you thought you were down to thirty minutes before departure only to find out Visiting Day ends at 3:30pm not 3:00pm.
If we were smart, those popsicles floating around all over campus would be spiked with alcohol.
In my world, 3:00pm means it’s practically, pretty much, totally just about 3:30pm. The moment’s arrived to work on the goodbyes. I reel my kids in one at a time and then again all together in a huddle so I can soak up one last Mommy-Loves-You-So-Much-Even-Though-This-Was-The-Longest-Day-Ever-Hug. I hold on for dear life never wanting to release first. Six hours later, my boys are definitely sweatier and dirtier but somehow it feels like their also bigger and stronger and seemingly more lovable than just this morning. Though my mind already has one foot pumping the gas with the need for speed on the rental car, the irony is my heart is not ready to leave. Oddly, it feels like I’m gonna miss them more than I anticipated. Since there’s no crying in baseball, I bite the inside of my cheek willing myself not to well up as I tell them for the millionth time how much I love and adore them. Seeing as though the last twenty-nine minutes of hugging and kissing were just practice rounds, I have no choice but to bring it in for what is now the real deal final embrace.
And with that, Visiting Day is officially over until next year when the clock unpolishedly starts all over again!