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.