“Do u think she looks happy?”
They all lean in a little closer, ready to give their professional opinions.
“She looks bored,” announces my 11 year old.
“She looks happy,” my 8 year old decides.
“I think she looks tired,” chimes in my 6 year old.
Six little faces try to see the phone screen a bit better, as I enlarge the photo of my daughter in camp.
She’s sitting on the side. Hmm. I don’t see any of her friends near her. She does look tired. Or sad?
“Maybe she’s homesick,” I think out loud.
“No,” says my 11 year old, pretty confidently. “She just looks bored. She’s probably waiting for the activity to start. She’s not homesick.”
I decide to trust his opinion. After all, he’s been to camp more recently than me.
I look at the six little boys clustered around me. The six little boys who have taught me so much about life.
That things really are better when you’re standing on your head. (Ok, I haven’t tried it, but I am convinced.)
That food tastes much better when your hands are covered in dirt from digging.
That anything can be turned into a flying object.
That life is so much more fun when you zoom through the house at top speed making as much noise as possible.
I go back to the picture. The picture of my one ally, my daughter, who is away at camp.
Her hair is brushed. It’s mock wedding day, so she’s wearing her nice shabbos outfit. She’s wearing her weekday shoes. Oh no, what happened to her shabbos shoes?
I know the answer, she likes being comfortable. And her weekday shoes are more comfortable. But still I worry. And she’s not sitting near her friends.
“Where are her friends?” I ask my experts.
“Somewhere else,” they say. They are not so concerned.
“Go to the next picture already!”
I scrutinize it one more time.
“So you think she’s happy? Not homesick?”
It’s my three.year old who convinces me.
“She looks so happy! I miss her!”
My 1 year old is getting impatient, trying to tap the screen to get the picture to move.
My husband walks in. I call him over to get his opinion.
“She looks great!” he says enthusiastically.
“But she’s not smiling.”
“So? She still looks happy, She can be happy even if she’s not smiling.”
He has a valid point. I’m clearly outvoted. I finally agree. She’s happy. She’s not homesick.
And we move on to the next picture, although my heart is still stuck on the one before.
It’s been 5 days since she called from camp, she’ll call again in 2 days.
Once a week is not enough, I need to know how she’s doing every day!
Deep down I know it’s a good thing. And I know she begged to go to camp. She is ready for this. Maybe I’m the one who is not ready.
We finish scanning the rest of the pictures and move on to supper.
They’re all eating. I sneak my phone out and leave the room for a minute, knowing I’ll probably get caught.
But I need to check. I know pictures are only updated once a day, but maybe, just maybe, they updated again. It doesn’t hurt to check.