I sent my three California kids (along with their cousin) to the Hill Country of Texas for two weeks.( My husband said I was shipping them to Camp Hell for 10 days because of the heat and humidity.) But let’s face it, kids are resilient. Heat doesn’t bother them. “Pain don’t hurt.” ~to quote from the amazing movie Roadhouse.(yes I said it was amazing.)
I’m a Texas native and wanted to give my kids a meaningful connection to my home state. They had never been to sleep away camp and they were excited. I too was excited. I had 2 full weeks without kids, without dogs, without any responsibility except to see old friends and eat and drink myself silly. I mean, I had to be in Austin in case there was “an emergency” at camp. That’s just good parenting. 😉 My husband was kind enough to pretend to believe that reasoning.
On the 2 hour drive from Austin to camp, my kids and their cousin, discussed the exciting things they would be experiencing. (Canoeing, Horseback riding, Archery, Campouts, the Guadalupe River, and of course…NO PARENTS!) I gave them a thumbs up code so I could get a sense of how they were doing in camp pictures. (2 thumbs up~ awesome time, 1 thumb up~ ok, no thumbs….miserable)
Needless to say every day I’d go to the camp websites and scroll through the pictures. Not one kid adhered to my thumbs up code. And only one of 3 wrote consistently to let us know they were a- having a great time, b- were a little homesick, and c- needed money, sunglasses, and Minecraft books. But I could see from the huge grins on their faces (and the charges made at the Canteen)…they were having a blast. In a world where kids can’t play in their own front yards much less be free to roam their neighborhoods, sleep away camp gives them the freedom that we all took for granted.
And let’s not forget my freedom! Freedom to sleep in until 9am! Freedom to eat chips and salsa for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Freedom to have marathon couch viewings of Netflix series. Ahhh I love sleep away camp!
Lord knows we moms need a break from our rewarding yet challenging 24 hour 7 days a week full time mom gig. I was instantly reminded of that when we got home and I opened my daughter’s suitcase to find a broken bottle of BBQ sauce drenching every article of clothing. And again the next morning when I was driving to the pediatrician’s office after being up all night with my son as he coughed and wheezed.
As I complete my millionth load of laundry, dole out meds, and answer the constant question, “what are we doing today, Mommy?”, I make a mental note to do the early bird sign up for next summer’s sleep away camp…and look into the 4 week session option. You know, for the kids.
“It happened one summer
It happened one time
It happened forever
For a short time…” ~The Motels (Suddenly Last Summer)