Packing for Camp is so Loaded. And not just with Stuff.

Could My Living Room be Any Messier? Poor dog!

18 pairs of socks, 12 t-shirts, 15 pairs of underwear, 2 sets of pajamas, 8 towels, 2 sets of sheets.  Think this is inventory at my new shop?  Think again: this is but a small small sample of the camp list I’m referring to as I am packing my two kids up for camp.

I thought that since it’s my second year packing them up and shipping them out,  it wouldn’t be so bad this time.  Turns out – no matter how many times you’ve done it, packing up two kids for sleepaway camp is  one of the more odious tasks of (Jewish, Upper West Side) motherhood First of all, it’s a mountainous reminder that my kids are leaving me. That they will ultimately really leave me, and that really, them leaving me (did you get that I’m kind of obsessing over the fact that they’re leaving me?) is kind of what this mothering thing is all about. Love them, teach them, send them away to share all that awesomeness with someone else. Preferably someone who doens’t make mother-in-law jokes about you behind your back. Then there’s the fact that there is SO MUCH STUFF. Why, I ask you, do my kids need 18 pairs of socks each? (Although I can answer that, since last year, I sent my son to camp with 18 pairs of socks and he came home with three. Including the ones on his feet.) Why do they need a big foam egg crate to put on top of their cot mattress? When I went to camp we just used sheets. And while we’re on the subject – why do they need special cot sheets? What’s wrong with shoving a set of twin sheets deep under the mattress for a few weeks? Yeesh. I hate sewing labels into 36 socks (or in my case (twins)72. Oy Vey).

I hate that their gigantic trunks take up half my living room. I hate that it’s all on me. I don’t even think my husband has noticed the giant mound of STUFF that has invaded our lives. I know he hasn’t nearly gone blind threading and re-threading that damn needle. (Hello out there: the eyes of needles have clearly gotten smaller.  With whom should I register my complaint?  Oh, the Office of the Middle Aged? Thanks.)

But the thing is, I love that, just like I did, they’re going to sleep away camp. That they’ll sing songs, and learn secret handshakes, and play Nukem and Spud and Red Rover. i love that they will get so filthy it will take three days to get off the grime when they come home. I love that they’ll hate camp food and eat it anyway. I love that they get to spend seven (!) weeks in a beautiful camp on a lake in New Hampshire in a place that’s totally theirs…and not mine at all. But I still hate packing them up.


  1. says

    I am right there with you. I can’t wait to send my kids off to camp for the experiences they’re going to have – singing Israeli songs around the campfire, horseback riding, swimming, chatting with friends, all of it. My husband thinks I just want to get rid of them, little does he know. It’s so much more than that (he never had the experience).

  2. says

    OH mama…the packing always kills me. The labels even more so. I remember the first time DD went off to camp – 4 years ago. I came back from dropping her off at the bus – and the house? Was. So. Quiet. I had to get out! So I went to work out…and then I realized: I don’t have to BE anywhere. I don’t have to DRIVE someone anywhere. DH and I could go out for dinner/drink/stay out late without paying the babysitter a small mortgage…

    And ever since? Off to camp she goes…it’s great for all of us…

  3. KD says

    I came across your post when trying to find the best way to sew name tags into socks… is it folded in half into the inside cuff? My son is about to have his first summer at sleep-away camp. Please advise.

    • says

      Yes! That’s the best way. While iron-ons work for most things, for socks…not so much. Also – don’t be afraid of the indelibly laundry pen – it is your friend! And a lot less time consuming than sewing or even ironing on. But for socks – sewing is kind of the only way to go. Although the truth is – they all lose all their socks anyway! last year, I sent my son with 18 pair and he came back with NONE!! not even on his feet!!!

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