Little Dude Goes Back to Camp…and Back To Being A Kid Again

July 8, 2014 in Parenting

English: YOKOSUKA, Japan (Dec. 6, 2009) Lade M...

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Yesterday, Little Dude went to his first day of basketball camp. Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but for a kid who has spent more time horizontal than vertical this past year, it was a pretty big deal. At least for me it was. I felt like I was dropping off a toddler at his first day of preschool and I was the nervous mom hovering outside the door, wondering if he’d survive the day without me.

It’s not that I was worried about any separation issues, although the two of us were essentially joined at the hip all year. I knew that for this camp he was going to be thrilled to have his two buddies with him so he definitely wouldn’t miss me at all. I was more concerned about whether Little Dude would have the energy to endure a full day sports camp in the 90 plus degree heat.

What was I thinking?!!?

Maybe I should have kept him in front of the TV this week, or at least at home in the air-conditioning until the high summer temperatures subsided.

I made sure to talk to the camp director and sports trainer in charge so that they were aware of Little Dude’s past “situation.” I hated having to tell them anything at all, and chances are if I had not, they wouldn’t notice anything different about him, except for the fact that maybe his buzz cut seemed a lot shorter than the other boys’ summer cuts. But, I felt they should know he might need to take short breaks from the activities and that he shouldn’t be misunderstood as a 10-year old kid with a bad attitude.

Of course they were very understanding. The trainer mumbled something like, “he’s so young to have gone through that.”

Uggghhh, I hated that reaction of shock combined with pity, but I’ve learned by now that it comes with the territory.

I didn’t want Little Dude to be babied by anyone so I reassured the trainer that the doctors wanted him to be as active as possible this summer. He seemed pleased by my encouragement and then I went on my way, ready to start my first full day in a year without Little Dude by my side.

His feedback after Day 1 of camp?



Except then he added, “but I felt light-headed because I was so hot.” Little Dude then proceeded to chug two large gatorades.

Aside from knowing I needed to send him with extra hydration the next day and the guilt from seeing the sunburn on his cheeks (which was my fault for not sending him with additional sunscreen to reapply), I think it was a success!

Next week is soccer camp, which I’m particularly excited about because it’s inside an air-conditioned facility! No sunburn or dehydration issues to worry about, until the week after that he’s headed to…sleepaway camp.


By then, I’m hoping these day camps were a good warm-up, because I know one of us is going to need it.






{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Veronica July 8, 2014 at 8:28 am

Good for little dude!!! Waaaay to go!!! xo, V.


ohboymom July 8, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Thanks…He wouldn’t have had such a good return to camp without his two buds…:)


Kerri July 8, 2014 at 9:55 am

Wow. I bet your heart was in your throat the entire day. Also that you kept going to say something to him and bam realized he was having fun at camp instead of being there. On the upside he had FUN which he so freaking deserves. Better he got sunburned like a normal 10 YO does at camp. At least if you live in my house and forget to send in the sunscreen because well you had a million other things you had to pack and that was the least of them. I am so happy for you and Little Dude!!!
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ohboymom July 8, 2014 at 12:32 pm

You’re so right about the sunburn — oddly enough, I was kind of happy he got one, because I too am the one who usually forgets to apply it. Made things feel back to normal again.:)


Janine Huldie July 8, 2014 at 11:22 am

Never more happy read this today and after the long, hard road you guys have been on this is truly music to my ears today!! :)
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ohboymom July 8, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Thanks so much Janine and Happy Anniversary to you! :)


Cristina July 8, 2014 at 2:12 pm

I have these same feelings with my son who had epilepsy. He was hospitalized and quarantined for 6 weeks when he was just 4 – and then while there, a Leukemia scare. terrifying stuff that I bury and try not to remember. I say had because he’s been seizure free for 2+ years now, which means in September it will be a year that he’s off medicine for it. What I’ve learned is that he is WAY more resilient than I ever was or could be. And he too, needs more sunscreen at camp!
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ohboymom July 8, 2014 at 10:22 pm

Oh it’s so true – I think kids in general are WAY more resilient than adults. I’m amazed at what my son endured this year and he barely complained…I can’t believe he’s related to me! :)


Chris Carter July 8, 2014 at 2:37 pm

I would have been a mess too! And I love love love that he had ‘fun’ and was able to withstand the heat and activity! YAY for indoor soccer… lol

It’s so awesome that you are taking these courageous steps to give him back his ‘normal’… I would want to pull him tighter in, too. But you are restoring him the perfect way. Once again- you inspire me Emily! Bravo mama!

One step at a time… :)
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ohboymom July 8, 2014 at 10:16 pm

I love how you use the term “restoring him” – that’s perfect and comforting for me too so thanks much. xo


Kristi Campbell July 8, 2014 at 8:27 pm

I saw this come in my inbox and was just like “OMG YAYYYY” because he and you are so ready for him to be a kid again. I’m so happy he’s back at camp, sunburned (um, Tucker’s teachers felt the need to remind me twice that he needs sunscreen and I was all like “I try but he hates it and rubs it off and whatever” but he’s getting the need, as am I). Regarding the comment – it does suck, the pity, and mine’s diff from yours of course, but at the same time, he IS TOO YOUNG to have had to deal with that sh##, really right? I mean, I totally get where you’re coming from, but also maybe where they are I guess? Does that make sense?
Also, sleep away camp? Even though I did it, and loved it, I can’t even imagine the day that Tucker goes. Gulp, is right!!! <3
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ohboymom July 8, 2014 at 10:15 pm

Yes of course you make sense and I agree – TOO YOUNG. And you’re right, if I didn’t get the pity reaction, I’d be all like, “why isn’t this guy showing any compassion for us?” so yes, I get it. Believe it or not, Little Dude went to sleepaway 2 summers ago when he was 8. He was very homesick and it was probably not a good idea to send him that young, but he wants to go back this summer, so we’ll see. Middle dude will be at camp too so he’ll look after him, I hope.:)


Lana July 9, 2014 at 1:30 am

So happy to read this. I’m sure you’re ready to get back to normal kid stuff after the difficult time you’ve all been through, but I can totally empathize with how hard it is. Yay Little Dude (and his mom) :).
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Diane July 9, 2014 at 7:35 am

So happy for little dude and you. You need a spa day and a medal! Love u


Julie DeNeen July 9, 2014 at 3:59 pm

I read this yesterday and was yelling in my head, “Go Emily and Little Dude!”
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Lisa @ The Golden Spoon July 9, 2014 at 10:39 pm

Yay!! So happy he is able to get back to the things kids should be doing in the summer. :-) It is most certainly a big deal. You were understandably nervous, but I’m glad it worked out well and he had fun.
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basketball summer camps NJ December 25, 2014 at 8:18 pm

Sports camps are what just your kids need to be able to learn more about the things they really like to do.


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