By: Steffi Belitsky
— In my house it is time to go to the garage and the storage space, get out the duffle bags and wonder where the things that you were SURE you put in there last summer got to.
— It is the time when each child, one at a time, brings out their entire wardrobe of clothing, from underwear to Shabbat Whites. Even the clothes that are still on said child’s floor even though you have been reminding that child for weeks that we would be going through everything shortly.
— It is when you have several trash bags at the ready to get rid of the items that you knew your child would never wear but they insisted that they would and are now blissfully too small.
— It is the time when you realize that there are only so many t-shirts a child can own.
— It is the time when you make three piles, one for donation, one for keep but not to go to camp, and the final pile that will make it up to camp.
Once you are sure everything is out of the child’s room and sorted into the three aforementioned piles, you are ready to check for labeling and see what is REALLY going to go to camp.
— But, before you can really get to that, you have to do MORE laundry because, as also mentioned earlier, there were clothes that came from the child’s floor. So off you go to get the laundry done and try to keep track as to what went into the wash.
— Then you start labeling. Either you have tags that are iron on, or stick on or, like me, you have waited too long to order those things, you rummage around the house looking for the Sharpie that you KNOW you put in THAT drawer just the other day and is now MIA. Rushing around the house, asking the others that live there where it is, it magically appears back in that drawer where you know it was not just a short time ago.
— Sigh…..Back to labeling. I sit with each child and realize that there are far too many clothes to take to camp so the negotiations begin. I advise my child that it is camp, the fancy dress that you wore to that fancy party last year is NOT appropriate for camp. They then advise you how they HAVE to have that dress for the dance. For the sake of their self-esteem, you acquiesce.
— You negotiate how many t-shirts will go to camp and then realize that that does NOT include all the camp t-shirts that they have accumulated over the years, (how does an 11 year old have that many t-shirts as they have only been a camper for 4 years?)
— You finalize the negotiations, you are relatively sure your child will have everything they need including: all colors for, “that program that MAY OR MAY NOT happen at the end of the session” are covered, enough sunscreen for your child and their entire unit and stationary.
— You add a few disposable cameras for your child to take because even though you have bribed your child with lots and lots of things to make sure they get in front of the photographer for the photo program that camp uses, you know that it is never enough.
Bags are packed, toiletries are purchased, linens are bagged up. Your child is ready…..until…..”Mom, I need that, “insert your own child’s desperate need” I have to wear that NOW!” Sigh – in my house it is always the bathing suits. You finally are ready to get their things to camp….along with the child of course!
A few days later, you receive a piece of mail… You start doing that dance, you know the one, the one where you thank whoever you believe in at the moment that your child DOES love you and wants to stay connected. You open the letter and what does it say? “Dear Mom, you forgot to pack my…”