They’re all back.
It was one week of camp for boys and one week of camp for girls, and there’s nothing like having them all back under my roof.
This time two of my boys went, which doubled the amount of time I had to spend dissecting pictures.
The camp was so kind and sent 378 pictures over the week. But it’s a double edged sword.
Either I can’t find them, so I panic. Or I find them, but I can’t read the expression on their faces, so I panic. Or the picture catches just a sliver of a right ear, so I panic.
So really, I can’t win.
You’d think by the fourth year of sending kids to winter camp – and it’s only one week – I’d be getting better at it. But nope. It’s just one of the many mysteries of motherhood.
But this time, I really panicked.
I scanned each picture, looking for secret messages of how my boys were doing.
After all, it was my 9-year-old’s first time going to camp; he needed a bit of extra worrying.
The pictures were looking good. I saw the hood of his sweater in one. The tip of his nose in another and I recognized the corner of his sneaker in a third.
And then finally, on hike day, there he is! I can’t see his face, but there he is, walking along the path with everyone.
But wait a second. I take a closer look. I enlarge it on my phone screen. I rotate it.
This doesn’t make sense.
Everyone is walking on a straight path. And my son is walking to the far right. Everyone is going in one direction, and he is going off to the side.
Why is he going off to the side?
I zoom in, I zoom out. Yes, he’s definitely going away from the group.
He’s not a wanderer. But why is he wandering away?
I’m really in a panic.
He’s wandering away and no one even notices.
I check again. Yes, every single kids is focused on walking ahead, and no one sees him wandering off.
Where’s the counselor?
He’s not there. Well, not in the picture.
I quickly forward the picture to my Whatsapp group of close friends, fellow moms who I know would understand my panic.
Do you see what’s wrong with this picture? I quickly message. I don’t want to sound to neurotic; I wait to see if they see what I see.
I anxiously wait for an answer. No one replies.
I try to relax. I’m sure everything is OK, I tell myself. Stop overreacting.
I look at the picture again, which hasn’t changed since just a few moments before. He’s still wandering off.
Should I call the camp director and tell him?
No, I can’t be that type of mom.
But what if he did wander off?
I wait an hour, which feels like forever, until my husband gets home.
“Any pictures from camp?” he asks.
“Oh, you bet! Wait till you see this one!”
I try to hid my neurotic-ness and casually show him the hiking picture.
“Nice, they’re going on a hike.” He points to my 9 year old in the photo. “Look, he’s right there, the first in the line.”
“The first in the line? I thought he was wandering off…”
“Wandering off? They’re going around a bend, he’s the first one there, leading the way to the right.”
If only moms were gifted with the same (un)common sense as dads.