After I drop my 6-year-old son off at summer camp each morning, I clear my mind. I put on NPR. I focus on the tasks for my day. Then a thought will pop into my head. A little worry bubble I can usually tap and clear away. But then more bubbles pop into my mind. Little things, big things, all the things-in-between-the-things.
Good grief! It’s SUMMER CAMP. No big deal. Except this is my little guy’s first year and I worry; I just can’t help it. I can’t wait to hear all about it when I pick him up. But in between the drop-off and the pick-up, I think about his day and hope everything is going well.
Here are some thoughts that are constantly running through my head …
1. Is he drinking enough water?
It’s hot! It’s the summer. I’m sure his counselors are reminding all the kids to drink water during the day.
2. Will he remember to bring home his swimsuit?
So far we have lost a bathing suit and a pair of shoes at summer camp. No idea where they could be. None. He’s come home without socks, without towels, without water bottles.
Every morning I check the camp’s massive lost and found. I know this is part of the learning experience of camp, but it’s an unexpected cost I did not plan for. Which means I think about this during the day — and hope he comes home with everything I sent him to camp with in the morning.
3. Who is at camp with him?
We are in week three of camp and so far my son has told me one person’s name. Not because he is withholding names, but because he honestly has no idea. You could ask him the names of his two camp counselors right now and there is a really good chance he would not know them.
I do not get this. At all. How do you not know NAMES of kids you are hanging out with all day? Before I pick my son up, I wonder if this will be the day he is able to tell me names.
4. What did he mean when he said “girlfriend”?!
The other day he told me “almost had a girlfriend.” I haven’t been able to to figure that one out. Is it someone in his group? Someone he eats lunch with? How can I find out more info without prying? Or is it over now and I should just drop it? I should drop it, right?
5. HOLD ON! It is very sunny of all a sudden!
Are they reapplying sunscreen? Every day I slather my son with SPF and every day he comes home with pink cheeks and a red neck. He has sunscreen in his bag and supposedly the kids reapply. But are they? Is he?
6. What are the other kids eating?
I have been making the same lunch for three weeks. The EXACT same. This is what my son wants and it’s simple, so we both win. But I keep asking what other kids are eating at lunch. I’m curious that way. My son has no idea. The other day he reported that someone had a juice box. He is awful with intel.
7. Is he doing OK in the pool?
W is still fine-tuning his swimming so I often worry how he is doing with water activities at camp. He continues to amaze me by pushing himself.
8. Is he being nice?
He had better be behaving!!!
9. Are other kids being nice?
Oh goodness — I hope no one is picking on him.
10. What’s he doing at this. exact. moment.?
The most wonderful and amazing thing would be if I picked up my son from camp and he simply told me about his day. Not every detail. Just the headlines. The basics. The bare bones. The smallest amount of information. Please. Anything. Come ON. Something. ANYTHING. I can not deal with, “It was OK.” What was OK? What did you DO?
But I won’t pry. I leave that to his grandmother (my mother), whose training and experience in interrogation can sometimes elicit water from a rock.