This year my son decided he wanted to stay at his overnight camp longer. He was willing to leave behind his close-knit group of friends in August and strike out on his own to meet totally new kids in July to have that extra week. Now I’ve been pretty good about not freaking out about this because
I know 65% of the staff at the camp and I have the phone number of the Camp Director, I’ve known the Staff Director for 30 years, and I’m playing WWF with the Associate Director, and I can reach any of them in about 3 minutes I know that I can stay in touch with him via letters.
As far as I’m concerned, when writing your child who is at overnight camp, there are two rules.
Rule #1: Don’t be sad. Never tell your child that you are missing her so much that it hurts. That’s a disaster. And if your kid writes to say he is sad or homesick, don’t get all hyper and tell him you’ll pick him up. Oy. He’s just venting. No! No! No!
Rule #2: Be funny. Camp is fun – and your letters should be too. Tell stories. Take a moment from your day and embellish it like crazy. When I write to Tech, I try to be entertaining. And by that, I mean, I try to entertain myself while simultaneously torturing him.
At almost 13 years old, Tech is currently obsessed with two things: dubstep and Minecraft. If you don’t know what these things are, you are probably not the parent of a teenage boy.
Here is the first letter from home that I tapped out to my son.
• • •
You have been gone for 12 hours. I imagine you guys are just getting settled into your cabin about now. You have to tell me all the stuff you know I want to know like which cabin you are in? And who are you sleeping next to? Were things decided pretty easily or did enormous fist-fights break out? If so, was anyone seriously injured? I hope you have met some cool new people. I also hope that there are no doojies in your bunk, but you know there is always one kid. (And sometimes two.) But hopefully not.
Okay, the standard questions: How did you do on your swim test? Which hobby did you get? Who are your counselors? Are you going to ask you-know-who on Shabbat walk? If you have given up on her, is there someone else that has caught your eye? Did your cousins greet you with hugs? I paid them a lot of money to make sure there would be hugs. Please let me know if you do not feel you received a proper welcome in which case I will request a full refund. Be certain everyone knows that A & A are your first cousins because 1) they are totally cool, 2) they are staff, 3) no one will screw with you if they know you have bodyguards on the premises.
Dad & I are redecorating your room. Are you okay with yellow walls and a pink comforter? I’m pretty sure that is what you said. Dad thought pink walls and yellow comforter. Who is right? And don’t say you don’t want your room redecorated. We know you will love it when it it done!
Oh — bad news — I accidentally deleted Minecraft from my computer so you will probably have to start building your world again. Oh, I’m sorry. Did seeing the word “Minecraft” make you experience withdrawal symptoms? I’m sorry to have mentioned Minecraft. It’s probably hard for you to be away from Minecraft. Did you find out if anyone else likes to mine? What about dubstep? By the time you leave, I’m guessing everyone will be digging Dead Mouse and Skrillex.
I love you eleventy-bazillion pounds. And that, my son, is a lot.
Have a great time and be the great person that you are.
(Or be that kid. Either way.)
Sending you all my crazy-embarrassing motherly love.
I’d love it if you would leave a note for Tech while he is at summer camp during the month of July! Write as much or as little as you would like. I will print out all of your responses and bring them to him on Visitors Day which is set for July 15.
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