Little A is at outdoor ed. It’s a sleep away camp for three days that’s a rite of passage for 6th graders in our school district. Little N went on this trip four years ago. Boy, what a different trip that was!
June 2014: I was a clueless rookie middle-school mom then, little N was pretty chill with the whole deal, and N somehow did not feature in the planning process at all. Packing took all of 15 minutes, if that. Off went the girl to camp – lightly packed, with hiking shoes that were a little too tight (and stayed sort of wet for the whole time), and a blanket that was a little too light (and no heating in the cabins at camp). I dropped off little N at the front of the school and took a couple of quick pictures of her and her friends (man, where are those pictures now?). I missed little N a ton for the next two days, was wistful and hoped that she was having a great time, but there was not much more to do. The girl returned two days later, reassured us that camp was fun and she had a pretty good time (tight wet shoes and cold nights notwithstanding), and that was that.
June 2018: Little A has been talking (mildly apprehensively) about outdoor ed for years now. Almost since when Akky went there four years ago. So, when it came time to pack, she was not going to tolerate any slackers. Mom, dad, and little A marched off to the local sports store multiple times to pick out the perfect sleeping bag, flash light, water shoes, sneakers, sandals, bug repellent, sunscreen, you.name.it. We picked out the most optimal rolling duffel bag after weighing the relative merits and demerits of various luggage options, packed everything in, and quizzed little A on exactly where everything was stored (her idea). I dropped off little A at the bus and hung around hugging and taking selfies with her. Little N would never have tolerated any of this – not the hanging around, the hugging, or the selfies (were selfies a thing four years ago?) – so I really indulged myself today. 🙂
But the huge difference this time around is WhatsApp. There was no such thing when little N went on her trip (if it was around, well, I had no idea). But by this point, even I have caught on. I am in a WhatsApp group for little A’s class that I have not been active in, like, ever. In fact, I have contemplated a thunderous exit several times over the past year. But somehow I hung in patiently. And today, I got my money back for my patience. There is a huge flurry of activity going on there with hundreds of pictures being constantly posted from the camp by chaperone parents (what wonderfully good-hearted people to volunteer so much time at the camp, and also post pictures so that the rats that didn’t volunteer can enjoy too).
It is super delightful to see pictures of the kids (ok, pictures of my kid) away from home, all smiling and having a great time. I am especially thrilled to see the pile of food set in front of little A and her group at dinner (I mean, I am putting out burgers and a smoothie for dinner here since the cleaning lady came late in the afternoon and I couldn’t bear to start making an actual dinner after she left). I have wondered about what this camp looks like for over four years, and now I know (without leaving the cushy comfort of my home). Technology is truly a wonderful thing!
So here I am. Checking WhatsApp every two minutes, blogging, (not) making food, pretending to work, and waiting for my little A’s return, oh, in about 44 hours. 🙂