Camp wins and woes

The boys are thoroughly enjoying their days at Most Expensive In All The Land Camp.  At the end of each day, they get off the bus that delivers them from the immaculate campus of childhood fantasy to the front door of their distressed house of family reality.  Before they can take off their bright red camp issued backpacks, they talk at me concurrently about their day and the amazing things they did and the many accomplishments they achieved and the snacks in other campers’ lunches they wish they had.

Asher:  Please can we go there next year, too, Mom?

Levi:  Yeah!  It’s the best camp I ever went to in my WHOLE LIFE!

Asher:  So can we?

In my mind I’m thinking, “If I want to maintain any semblance of my relationship with Gabriella, I can’t fork over that kind of cash again next year.  She will punish me and not in a good way.”  Instead I say with all the enthusiasm and sincerity I can muster, “I bet I can find another camp that’s just as fun if not better next year.”

Asher & Levi:  Noooooo!!! 

At that moment, I knew that the best decision and worst decision I ever made was to send these boys to MEIATLC.  They are, in fact, having the best time ever in their whole lives.  What if we can’t swing it next year?  What if no other camp will ever satisfy after this one? When it comes to camp, is it better to have loved and lost? 

For the money we’re spending to send them there, we could have…no, don’t do it, Deborah.  Don’t think of all the things you could have done.  Don’t imagine the home improvement projects that you’ve been aching to do … well not physically do but pay someone to do.  Don’t think about the certified, pre-owned second car you could have bought so that you could actually drive into New York for a date night in something other than your suburban mom mini-van.  Don’t think of all the exotic holidays the family could have taken or the investments you could have made into college funds or retirement. 

Ok, for what we’re paying for camp, we could probably buy one wheel of this car.
Don’t think about what kind of mother you are sending your kids to camp when you could be spending time with them – enriching their lives with day trips to MoMA or botanic gardens or The National Canal Museum.  Don’t think about all the time you have and still you manage not to fold and put away the laundry or find part-time employment to off-set that hefty bill at MEIATLC.

No, think instead about the joyous summer you’ve provided your children and how much they’ll benefit from the plethora of activities you could have never offered or the fun they’re having with counselors who are paid to be nice to them all day long and new friends whom they’ll never see again because those children attend exclusive private schools and holiday in the Swiss Alps during the entire month of August. 

Think about the fact that you would not really have put aside that money for all those worthy aforementioned things but instead you would have spent it all on what you cannot be sure but it would have dissipated from your bank account just as quickly as it was deposited.  Think about the fact that you would have pissed that money away, and instead, you selflessly earmarked that cash for your children so that they could look back and remember that one summer, once, when they were wee lads, when they actually loved that special camp and they thought that their mom loved them enough to send them there.

And while you’re at it, stop thinking so much.  You’re kids are at camp.  Go do something!

This post was written by Asher’s mom whose tree is indeed close to her fallen apple as she dreads the future instead of delighting in the present.  

6 thoughts on “Camp wins and woes

  1. Haha, so true! We sent our A to one of the MEIATLC when he was 4 (!) and realized quickly that we had not paced ourselves properly! Yipes! He had an ab-fab time of course and so went again the following year. Now we were sunk, and we did indeed have to break it to him that we were going to have to switch. This year he is at a sleepaway camp that is less than half of the cost of the MEIATLC and actually includes room & board! Truthfully, is there ANY daily expense that we have for ourselves that comes close to what we spend on these kiddos? That’s just what it is! 🙂 (and yes, have fun while they’re out!!)

    1. HALF the price for sleep away camp?!? I had to stop and imagine it for just a second. Should Asher EVER agree to sleep away camp, we are packing the bags!! As it is, he’s telling us he doesn’t want to go to college if he has to sleep there. Gabriella started to tell him he could go to a local school and stay at home, but then I kicked her in the shin. ENJOY!!

    2. Pack the bags! We loved the camp, and so did he. Rustic, traditional, (not Jewish – not sure if that’s important to you) and all boys, which he really needed! Yes, kick her in the shins – these children WILL live away for college!

  2. I feel for you. We needed a place to send my son for a week between school and regular camp, so we sent him to Rich Kid Science Camp and HE! LOVED! EVERY! SECOND! OF! IT!WHY! CAN’T! HE! GO! ALL! SUMMER?!?!

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