the one about the chipmunk, the other one

Last year we missed the Meet & Greet at Camp because it was the same HOT night as preschool graduation. As a result, I spent most of the first half of Caroline's summer trying to pry information out of her about her fellow campers, activities, and who her counselors were. Even though it was an icky rainy night and I was single Mom for the evening, we moved mountains to get her there this year to meet her counselors Kerri (I know!), Dani, and Becca and lay eyes on her "bunk." It was so sloppy that I felt like I was mudding in the south getting out of the offsite parking lot. Lulu the Subaru can add MUD to the things she enjoys that some cars hide from. The kids loved it.

Yesterday, I packed all the things, after labeling all the things, after gathering all the things. If it doesn't have a Mabel's Label tag mate, kiss it goodbye. Even things with labels can go missing at camp, eventually finding their way home. When the kids change clothes several times a day with swimming and boating and wibiting (more later), six year old girls lose things when they all wear the same Merida underwear and pink mesh swim shoes. I heart you Mabel's Labels.

We were off our game Monday; new routine, both kids requiring swim wear, towels, sunscreen and a change of clothes. I missed the first day of camp photo, BUT remembered to apply her nametag announcing far and wide that she is a "GOLD CHIPMUNK." I prepped her en route the way I had last year, reviewing the emailed weekly schedule. This year I snapped a photo of the email on my phone for easy access. SMART. Drama, Dutch Auction, Swim, ELECTIVE, and Nature. She panicked about the Elective, "what if I don't get gymnastics??" "You can try to get it next week, you will get something from the list you made." She found her little friend from school at the bus stop and they held hands and walked to the bus and she barely kissed me goodbye. This was a far cry from last year when the tears rolled and I convinced her and myself that this day would be the most amazing day of her life.

The differences didn't stop there. When I picked her up she was tired, but animated, telling me every single detail of her entire day. Her swim instructor's name is Greg, "just like Hokie," and "we back floated and front floated and I jumped off the dock into the deep water and he said he would help me and he did." What did the most dramatic six year old do in drama? "We had the best day in drama, Mommy. We got to dress up anyway we wanted and we had a FASHION SHOW!" Nature? "We dug in the ground for baby frogs and I caught one and look at my hand!' (holding up dirty hand with what I can only hope was dirt) Deep breath. The Elective. "Mommy, I got gymnastics! I get to do it all week!!!" (pile of laughs and cheers and smiles)


We complained to ourselves about the injustice of losing a significant discount for canceling the first week of camp that overlapped thanks to snow days with the last week of school. We bellyached about the cost and how could we imagine doing this for BOTH kids when Connor goes to kindergarten as we crunched numbers to estimate what down payment (yes, down payment!) we can make in the fall to save us from pricey installments.

That ride home, this morning in the car with her when I told her she will be Swimming, Boating, spending an hour on the HUGE inflatable obstacle course with a brand new trampoline called the Wibit, doing Gymnastics again AND spending time in Arts and Crafts she was so happy and so excited that my heart nearly burst. Camp is good for all our souls. I don't even GO and I love it as much as she does.

The night before camp during our little pillowtalk session, she told me she was sad that she had so many playdate requests from friends at school and so little time with camp to schedule them. I reassured her that a night at the local ice cream institution or a post dinner playground session would be just as much fun as any other playdate. Skeptical, I reminded her of all her friends who get to be pick ups at school, that go home with their Moms. I reminded her how much she had wanted to be a pick up some days and not go to her afterschool program. I reminded her that she LOVED her program and how special it was that she got to go. I explained that camp is even more special than that, that her Mom works hard everyday at her job not so she can buy cute tops at banana (sometimes), but so Caroline can spend her summer at the most special place on Earth; her camp. She hugged me so tightly, fiercely and whispered in my ear, "I love you Mommy Chipmunk. I love you so, so much." (yup, I cried after that.)

Summer has officially kicked off here at McCasa. There are dozens of homemade pretzel bites in the freezer, Ina's Shrimp Salad is halfway made, and we are mostlyish packed for the 3rd of July at the most special beach.


  1. What a great camp story! Makes me wish I'd ever gone.... But alas I got to pick extra activities or a pony (I picked the pony)

  2. Joy, me too! Save for three weeks at sleep away dance camp, I was "campless."