Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sleep Away Camp – Harder on the Kids or the Moms?

It's all about the Campfire at Sleep Away Camp

Ok, you sappy, suffering people like me.

For over a century, kids have been shuffled off to sleep away camp for long summers of bonding in tribal ways with kids their own age and with a few highly qualified counselors who mentor and teach vital life skills, all without parents hovering over their every move as especially per trend these days…

For over a century, especially where I grew up in the north east of the country, sleep away camp was a four – six – or even eight week summer adventure. The final bell on the last day of school rings, and, bingo!, time to start packing for camp.

Living out West now, the “tradition” of shipping our kids off to overnight camp for extended periods of the summer is, well, not a tradition. It’s just not done out here with the fervor and regularity of the East Coast families. It’s not the culture. Not the way.

Back East, you just DO IT. There is no thought process about IF you are sending your kids away. It is WHAT IS DONE. And our lemming brains and mob like mentalities are happy. Because deep down we know it is ultimately a GOOD thing for our children to be away from us for a little while, and we don’t have to suffer the decision of our emotions about whether it is good for us moms. Because, of course, they’re our Babies!!! (and how could they survive without us??)

Which leads to the problem for we Once-East-Coast-Now-West-Coast transplant Moms. We actually have to make the DECISION to ship our kids off. Because it is so rare out here. And then find the creeping, creepy feeling that you are a prison warden transferring a difficult case while everyone around you sort of shuffles and doesn’t meet your eye. They think: Why would you ever want to ship away your kid? And we Moms who don’t have the lemming support group telling us that Of Course You Should Ship Them Away, start thinking: But he’s my Baby!!!!  

What’s a Now-West-Coast mom to do??? (sniff)

Meanwhile, just so you know, my son who is being Shipped for a simple, one week, trial balloon this very next week is PUMPED. He may be my Baby! but his eyes are dry and he is salivating at the chance to go hang and play and bang his chest in the woods with other wild creatures his age.

It is my own eyes that just may need an infusion of East Coast hot air to dry the verklempt welling. Sap that I am. Green eggs and camp ham.

Namaste & Three Cheers -OM

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