Camp visiting day is approaching this weekend for Middle Dude, who is spending 7 weeks up in New Hampshire at sleepaway camp. As the much anticipated day comes closer, the camp sends out a reminder, along with some rules, such as:
No leaving the camp grounds during visiting day
Only family members may visit
No pets allowed on visiting day
And the all important rule:
Please limit the amount of junk food you bring.
Well, I am an extreme rule follower, so I made note of all these guidelines and followed them accordingly a few years ago when Big Dude had his first visiting day at camp. The morning of visiting day, my husband and I were eating breakfast at a local diner in New Hampshire and we noticed they had fresh cider donuts.
“Maybe we should bring Big Dude some donuts?” my husband asked.
I hesitated, worrying about the junk food rule and said, “sure, let’s bring him 6 donuts. He can always share with his bunkmates.”
My son had also requested that we bring him some gum. I worried about sneaking in the two packs of Bubble Yum, but I figured they wouldn’t confiscate it if he kept it on the down low.
When we arrived for visiting day, I noticed other parents carrying large shopping bags and boxes of stuff.
Huh, I guess they are bringing their kids stuff they forgot to pack initially? I thought.
We immediately and proudly presented Big Dude with the 6 cider donuts and 2 packs of gum, thinking we were the best parents ever for sneaking in this small amount of junk food. Big Dude gave us a puzzled look, and quickly ate all 6 donuts.
When we entered Big Dude’s bunk, I noticed that every kid had a gigantic mound of junk food piled on top of their beds.
I looked back at Big Dude’s bed with the 2 packs of gum and crumpled up bag that had previously held the donuts and I knew I had mom-failed with a capital F.
The guilt stayed with me all year long. When next summer’s visiting day came up, let’s just say I compensated BIG TIME. Big Dude, with the haunting memory of the mom who screwed up the previous year, continually reminded me in every letter and phone call home to bring TONS of junk food. After I backed up the U-Haul to his cabin and dumped everything on his bed and compared it to the other campers’ beds, I knew I done good.
“So, not bad huh?” I bragged.
“Yeah, a lot better than 6 donuts mom.”
Ouch. But, he was right.
Middle Dude seems to remember that first visiting day when his brother was so deprived compared to everyone else. Now that it’s his turn to be visited at camp, he is making sure no fatal errors occur again. When we spoke to him on the phone the other night, he had a LIST of what I should bring.
“Don’t worry, I got it covered. I got all your favorite stuff.” I reassured him.
I have now learned that some rules were made to be broken. So, if anyone out there is going to camp visiting day for the first time this weekend, don’t F it up like I did. Break the rules and bring the junk food.
Lots of it.
Trust me on this one.
P.S. My friend Lisa is going to her kids’ visiting day this weekend and is also breaking Rules 1 and 2 as listed above. While I don’t recommend doing that, apparently it’s okay to break all the visiting day rules at certain camps. I wish her luck and hopefully she and her kids won’t be kicked out of camp for the remainder of summer.