Greetings From Camp! I Wanna Go Home! or How to Rip Out Your Mother’s Heart in One Small Letter

My daughters left for sleep-away camp on Monday.  They come home on Sunday.  A short one week trial of sleep-away camp to see if they’d like it, to give them a gentle nudge towards independence.  (At least that’s the way my hard core camp husband sold it to me.)  Here’s the thing about sleep-away camp that I wasn’t prepared for – I wouldn’t speak to my kids for 6 days.  In my mind somehow I forgot this.  I’ve been away from them before but I’ve always called home to talk to them and hear a recap of their day.  Nope, that’s just not how things work at camp.  So every night my husband and I have pathetically waited for the pictures of camp to be posted on the photo site and then go through them with a fine tooth comb looking for a sign of our girls and more importantly to find some proof that they’re having fun.  A smile!  Arms around a group of girls!  Eating marshmallows!  All good signs.

Then today we came home to find two letters, one from each of them which must have been written on their first day of camp.  We read the first one:

All good right?

Then we opened the second one:

And our hearts fell to the ground.  And we laughed.  Thank goodness we have the pics of her smiling like crazy at camp or I’d really be worried.  Instead I think I’ll be proud of the fact that she has obviously mastered the art of Jewish Guilt. And my husband?  The one who went to summer camp for 7 weeks at the age of 7?  He is 100 times worse than I am and I think will be touring the Columbia University campus this fall to see how they can commute to college in 10 years without ever leaving home!

7 replies on “Greetings From Camp! I Wanna Go Home! or How to Rip Out Your Mother’s Heart in One Small Letter”

  1. I sent my 10 year old to a Friends Farm and wilderness sleepaway camp in Vermont.

    I got forlorn sad letters like you received, but detailed of all the things wrong with the outdoors and nature!

    Until we realized she just hated the outdoors, and like city live better. She missed movies , chinese food, and going shopping.
    She hated hiking , bugs, swimming in a lake, making fires, piciking food in the garden, tending to cute young animals.
    She was like woody Allen at sleep away camp.

    She requested an air conditioned camp the next summer.
    On principle alone I refused to send her to camp that had air conditioned bunks with lost of indoor activities.

    She happily went back to the 92nd street Y day camps.

  2. Hysterical! When my 10 year old daughter did the one week sleepover trial two years ago…we received the EXACT same mournful letter…except it arrived two weeks late. Of course, she was already home talking about “how great camp was and that she wanted to go back!”

    Two years later, she’s now a bonafide camper, coming home tomorrow after spending one month away. Even though it’s wonderful to re-connect with my husband, sans enfant, that doesn’t stop us from scouring the camp website everyday, looking for her smiling face!

  3. Great Post! My kids haven’t done sleep away camp yet but these are exactly the sorts of letters I’ll expect. Frame them. They’ll be that much funnier when you read them at her wedding. 🙂

  4. I once purposely broke my foot at camp–just to go home. It worked, for about a day, then I was casted and sent back. I cried the entire time.

    The following year I begged my Mom to be a counselor. Finally, she agreed. On day two she faked a migraine and we both went home. My plan worked and that was the end of my church camp summers.

  5. Aww, thank goodness for the pictures. Kind of cruel for the camp to mail that when she’s had six days to acclimate! I mean, if they can post the pictures, they should scan and email the letters for the worried first-timers (and I’m referring to the parents, here). 🙂

    Can’t wait until next year. I wanted Jake to go to a week trial of sleep away camp this year and, well, it was my husband who wasn’t ready. Forcing them both next year. It’s good for kids to explore their independence for more than a few hours!

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