We came across this blog and got a really good chuckle out of it. Since we’ve rounded that corner into April and the “waiting to pack” countdown has officially begun, we can’t resist sharing it with you. We would like to thank Lisa, the original author, for her permission to reprint it…
I am fortunate enough to be able to send my two older children to sleepaway camp. It is a fantastic learning, growing and maturing experience – for me and them! My kids learn that the world still turns if they wear clothes that don’t match or the same shirt 4 days in a row, or what it’s like to meet new people, watch themselves become independent beings and experience things they never could at home (we don’t have a lake in our backyard or a kiln in the kitchen).
That said, there’s a lot of waiting involved with camp. It all starts with the waiting-to-pack time period. It’s incredible how much stuff needs to be stuffed inside of the trunks that are taken to camp. Ok, first off, let’s not date ourselves to when they were actual black with gold rivet trunks – they’re really just duffle bags. Granted, huge, enormous, can hold at least 4 grown men duffles, but duffle bags nevertheless. And these duffles sit in my bedroom for weeks until they are actually picked up and taken away (given that we don’t have an extra bedroom and my husband and I’s room has the most space). So I wait as long as possible to unearth them from where they are stashed all winter to reduce the number of nights I can possibly slip, roll and kill myself on an errant battery or sunscreen stick that has escaped the double layered ziploc bag in which it was stored. Aside from my general safety, I have to wait to pack because nothing pisses me off more than putting items inside the bags and crossing them off my checklist, only to be asked the next morning by one of my chidlren if they can wear that shirt, jersey, soccer cleat, you name it, one last time. So, although I have a few friends that are happy to feel organized starting this process in February for a June pick-up, I’ll stick with the wait-until-the-last-minute crunch time way that seems to work best for us.
But the waiting doesn’t end with the pick-up of the bags. No siree. Then there’s the parking lot send-off where the parents stand in the middle of an open parking lot in midday. Blinking, shielding their eyes in the glaring heat (even behind the giant black Jackie-O glasses bought for the occasion) at a tinted window to try to catch a last glimpse of their child while trying to choke back emotion to “put on a good front”. Inevitably, there’s a late-comer who was stuck in traffic so us parents are left standing like beauty pageant idiots waving and waiting, waving and waiting.
Once the bus pulls away then the wait for the first online picture begins. Can you say refresh button? You never know when new pics will be posted… And of course, the first letter (hopefully with no circled tear droplets or talk of homesickness and hitching a ride home) and the first phone call. Visiting Day can never arrive quickly enough and as soon as you pull away from camp, the countdown to their homecoming begins. And then there’s the the daily wait for the mailman in the hopes he brings some small tidbit of a literary connection.
Key thing to note (and I learned this the hard way the first summer my kids were away), is that my summer life is what happens in between all this waiting. So although I miss them terribly each summer and usually have several countdowns going at once, I also recognize that the countdown to the hectic long days of the school year with homework, carpooling, sports practices and coordination of schedules is also going on during these precious and fleeting summer weeks.
So I’m trying to appreciate the waiting. And dare I say, enjoy it. Because before you know it, we’ll all have to endure the longest wait of all… when summer ends and we wait until next summer to do it all over again.