You wait patiently for the first one to arrive. Although the rest of the world may not use snail mail, many camps continue to encourage the practice. When the envelope appears in the mailbox there is a moment of true elation. You anxiously tear open the envelope. More often than not however, you are somewhat disappointed. Four or five generic lines greet you. They tell you camp is fun (hopefully) and maybe offer a list of bunkmate’s names. Unfortunately longer letters are usually reserved for campers who are less than plussed with their camp experience; as they tend to carefully detail all the issues and complaints.
You respond to these brief letters with long daily notes which detail the lazy days of summer at home. Writing the letter helps you feel more connected to your child. While a part of you wonders if he even takes the time to read what you have written, in the end you realize it really doesn’t matter. The task of writing these rambling letters is more a therapeutic exercise for you.
If you are really lucky, you receive a weekly phone call. You treasure these communications so much that you truly sulk if you happen to miss the call. Nothing tops the excitement in her voice as she tries to cram the details of a whole week of adventures into one eight minute call.
A couple of weeks after she is gone you begin to relax a little and enjoy the moments of stillness and quiet. You also begin to think about what you will bring on visiting day. You start your shopping way in advance adding items as letters with specific requests arrive home.
Finally the big day comes-you pack up the car and eagerly make the drive. When she sees you arrive she comes running. Nothing tops that big warm hug. The day flies by and before you can blink you are on your way back home.
You come back beaming and a bit relieved, your baby is doing just fine, now you can relax and enjoy the rest of the summer. And, just like that the summer comes to an end, just as you were finally getting your groove on. He arrives home with a smile on his face and a trunk full of dirty laundry. He runs up to his room and immediately pumps up the music, the dog barks, the cat screeches, the serenity of summer is at an end. He is home and in what feels like a flash, a second, a moment, it is back to family business as usual. You are happy to have him home, but if he could just turn down the music….