Okay, so I got the trunks packed. Yes, getting all the crap together in preparation for packing the trunks was the biggest pain in ass ever but honestly, once that part was done the act of actually putting the shit into the trunks wasn’t that bad. I mean, it’s not rocket science. Believe it or not, I kinda liked it.
You see, when I realized this was an opportunity for me to capitalize on my Type A, anal retentive neurotic-ness, I went completely ape shit OCD crazy and packed the trunks in a method I deemed to be so efficient and with such precision that I’m convinced the counselors will take one look and know without question that these trunks belong to a brand new camper whose Mom is fucking psychotic!
Oversized Ziploc bags labeled in detail and organized by specific type and quantity were just the start. I left notes in every zippered compartment and inside every sneaker. I taped instructional tips to the interior of the stationary clipboard so that my kid knows exactly where the pre-stamped and pre-addressed letters will be that I’ll anxiously be awaiting to read. Finally, I couldn’t resist Sharpie-ing the loving reminders (err, more like threats) on every one of the plastic bags of toiletries that I triple packed to brush and to use not just the body soap but also the face soap!
I told you, I’m fucking psychotic.
Sending Your Kid To Camp BEFORE CAMP. Seriously, WTF?
Since schools here in Florida end the first week in June, there’s about three full weeks before the kids leave for Sleep-away camp. Some parents here in SoFla send their kids to various local, specialized camps prior to sending them off for the real seven week camp adventure.
My Friend: “What is Ben doing before camp? Did you sign him up for anything?
Me: “What? No. Sign him up for what?”
My Friend: “Well, don’t you have three weeks before he leaves? You’re not gonna send him to a camp? What’s he gonna do everyday if you don’t put him somewhere?”
Me: “So you’re saying I should send him to camp before he goes to camp?
My Friend: “Well, yah I guess. He’ll drive you crazy if you don’t. There’s a by-the-week basketball camp and I heard there’s a cool surf camp. I bet he’d love surf camp.”
Me: “Oh, I bet he would but I’m not paying to send him to camp when I just paid a million dollars to SEND HIM TO CAMP! He can hang out with me and shoot hoops on the driveway. He can watch TV about surfing on ESPN if and he likes it enough he can practice in our pool.”
The only thing more annoying than being asked what my kid is doing before he leaves for camp is being asked what I’m doing once he leaves for camp.
Another Friend: “What are you doing this summer when Ben’s away?”
Me: “What am I doing this summer?”
Friend: “Yah. What are you doing? Are you going to Europe?” What trips do you have planned?”
Me: (Attempting to simultaneously laugh out loud and roll my eyes at the same time) “Am I going to Europe? Ummm, noooo. No plans for Europe. I’ll be lucky if my travel plans include dinner outside of the Palm Beach county zip code.”
I’m still in financial shock over the cost of Sleep-away camp so obviously there won’t be any excursions that require a passport. That said, I’m just grateful to be able to scrounge up enough cash for the round trip airline ticket(s) to see my kid on Visiting Day!
WAITING TO LEAVE FOR CAMP: IT’S A LAME DUCK STATUS
I’ll admit it: Three weeks is a long fucking time to be without structure. The funny thing is that my kid is doing quite well without the structure… Me, not so much! I’ve forgotten what it’s like to have a normal routine because my son has been attached to my hip every single day since school’s been out. We’ve had about a thousand “goodbye playdates” with friends and just as many “goodbye dinners” with family. We’ve even had second and third “so long…farewell for real this time” playdates and dinners with the same groups of people because THREE WEEKS IS A LONG FUCKING TIME TO WAIT TO LEAVE FOR CAMP WITHOUT ANY STRUCTURE!
I SHOULD HAVE OPENED THE MAIL A BIT SOONER
Not gonna lie: I’m all worked up about my kid leaving for camp. I’m sad for me and nervous for him. I’m expecting to be a certifiable, hot mess until I know that he has safely arrived at camp, settled in, made new friends and is happy. We’ve had multiple Mother-Son talks about what to expect in those first few days. I thought my spiel was awesome until I finally got around to reading the letter that came in the mail with the heading: THE WORST POSSIBLE THING YOU CAN SAY TO AN ANXIOUS CHILD.
Suffice it to say, telling my son that I will miss him more than anything in the whole wide world is a big no-no! Further, I probably shouldn’t have asked him forty-two times if he’s gonna miss me as much as I’m gonna miss him and I definitely should have avoided the whole topic on giving him an option to come home early if he doesn’t like camp! According to the letter I got, that would be classified as a camp failure of epic proportions. WHOOPS! Next time the mail comes, I’ll be sure to open it in a more timely manner.
SPEAKING OF MAIL: CAMP STAMPS? SORRY, BUT NO!
I’ve written blogs in the past about being old fashioned. Specifically, putting a stamp on an envelope and mailing it in lieu of using alternative electronic means. Bearing that in mind, I’m hoping you can appreciate my frustration over something that recently has been brought to my attention.
Nowadays you can send eLetters to camp by way of CampStamps. CampStamps are credits you can purchase to communicate with your camper and vice versa. Essentially, one dollar per CampStamp will allow you to read a received eLetter from your child or allow your child to read an eLetter that you have written (a.k.a. typed via email) to them.
Sorry, but an eLetter? If that’s not ridiculous enough, I’ve been informed that for an additional one CampStamp you can send SmartWords, which add age-appropriate vocabulary words to your email. I mean, SmartWords? Reallllllly? Come on!!!!!!!!
Obviously, I will NOT be buying CampStamps; I will NOT be sending eLetters and thank you very much but I think I’m smart enough to come up with my own list of vocabulary words! I will be hand writing my child using paper and pencil and envelopes with real stamps that I’ve purchased at the post office. However, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a tad bit curious to test the system and see how many CampStamps I would need in order to use the fancy SmartWords to communicate something like: “YOU BETTER BE BRUSHING YOUR TEETH!”
Denial Ain’t Just A River In Egypt
OOOOOOMMMMMMMGGGGGGG, is it really happening? Is the dragged out, three week, lame duck status really over? Is he really getting on that airplane without me and leaving for Sleep-away camp in two days. TWO DAYS! Really?????? Part of me is still in disbelief. Sheer and utter disbelief.
I keep telling myself I know he’ll be fine. He’s totally ready even if I’m not. I don’t know what to expect at the airport but I’ll be damned if I’m not armored with a full prescription of Xanax and I won’t hesitate for a second if I feel the need to run into the closest Premier Club/First Class lounge and order myself a glass of wine regardless if the time of day is nowhere near 5pm. A Mom’s gotta do what a Mom’s gotta do.
My little baby is leaving for the first time but I know in my heart he’ll return to me in August with a new set of skills, new lessons learned and an entire summer worth of invaluable experiences that will help to transform him into even more of the little mensch than he already is. After all, isn’t that what camp is all about?
JUST TO LET YOU KNOW… As neurotic as I admit to being, I have promised myself that there is no one I want to be LESS than that Mom who is a prisoner to the REFRESH BUTTON! I can’t think of anything more torturous than having to sift through thousands of online photos of strange children whose names and faces I don’t know in an effort to catch a glimpse of my kid. Experienced friends of mine who have been down this road before tell me I’m nuts for thinking I will not succumb to the madness. They are convinced I will stalk the camp website like every other pariah parent who is desperate to see of an arm or a leg or a partial ear lobe of what could possibly be their offspring. What do you think? Will I be that pariah parent? I’ll know soon enough and I’ll be happy to share how things shake down for me in my next post titled, The Camp Blog Part THREE: The Truth About The Refresh Button. Stay tuned…….
Until then, Happy Summer 2014